Disclaimer: I don't own diddly… not even 'Bo' Diddly, not even on a recording. So y'all know these folks ain't mine, just letting them play for free, and hoping y'all enjoy the story. ;D

Special thanks to jellie_rayneluv and batox for the quick peeks. ;D

Rating: M or R for now, probably to go up later, LOL. If you're very, very nice ;D

Special, super-spy gratitude to the lovely, talented and extraordinarily-thoughtful Raevon0206! This one's for you, Lady! ;D Hope you enjoy!



In an undisclosed underground NSA/CIA facility…


He stared hard through the one-way mirror, scrutinizing the figure sitting alone in the interrogation room. If it hadn't been for the subtle but constant flash of light against the handcuffs, someone could almost believe this captive was as harmless as had been claimed repeatedly over the past hour.

John Casey knew better. He wasn't falling for the whole innocence routine. What did he look like, some kind of rookie?

A satisfied smirk slipped onto his usually controlled face. He'd been waiting for this moment for a long, long time. The Raven had eluded him all these years. Thrown him off the trail in Istanbul. Caused a riot just to impede him in Bogota. Gone so far as to call the police in Peshawar, thereby forcing him into hiding himself for three days.

He'd chased The Raven from Magadan to Tierra del Fuego, the best of the best sent to capture the most notorious criminal agent the nation had faced in twenty years. And always, to his dismay and disgruntlement, he'd get within range to pluck the Raven's tailfeathers, only to have his hand come back empty.

Truth be told, he was a bit embarrassed. But The Raven's identity had been so guarded that no one, even he, had suspected the truth. Only a flash from the Intersect revealed the answer to why it seemed the rogue spy could vanish into thin air.

When the Intersect had flashed on a particular combination of photos, the hidden cameras had revealed one consistency in the meetings The Raven had been known to attend. That tiny, precious piece of information had made all the difference. One bit of the seemingly-impervious concealment of identity, a critical fact that had been unsuspected until now. One person was the only constant factor in those photos.

Specifically, one woman.

That woman now sat with each wrist cuffed to the metal arms of the single chair, each ankle likewise hobbled to a chair leg. She'd gotten a bit tense when he clicked the cuffs on, her brown eyes flying wide for a second – and he could have sworn he heard her breath catch – before slipping back into her poised façade.

For good measure, he'd taken his belt off – her eyes flown wide at that – and used the thick black leather to bind her torso to the back of the chair. Only way she was getting out of here was if she gave up the information he wanted. Then maybe – maybe – he'd let headquarters send her on to that eight-by-ten cell waiting in another undisclosed location.

Maybe not, crept a wicked thought into his mind. Maybe he'd just keep her here a while, watch her squirm and worry, a little payback for all those years of frustration while chasing a ghost. That'd be unprofessional, he knew, and he wouldn't do it, though the idea tempted him nearly beyond measure. But there was no reason he had to let her know that, though. Not right away.

There was the aggravating problem of getting her to actually admit who she was. Playing it as a case of 'mistaken identity' wasn't gonna fool him. She must have forgotten, he'd tailed her across the globe, and was well aware of her talents. Besides concealing her gender all these years, The Raven was a chameleon, able to adopt the customs and dialect of more than a dozen cultures.

Oh, she looked the part she was trying to pull off. Neatly pressed business suit and sensible mid-height heels. Light brown hair fell to just below her shoulders, cut in a professional yet clearly feminine style. Her dark eyes were reserved and a bit nervous, yet showing no overt fear as she scanned slowly around the room, like she was taking inventory, mentally cataloguing the few items it contained.

She wouldn't find anything in that room to help her escape. He'd made sure of that. Not this time. Nothing in there but a metal table supporting a recording device. A camera, the red 'record' light clearly on even through the tinted, reinforced plexiglass. A metal chair, not padded, with cool metal arms. And a box, black, silvertone latches, combination lock. The Special Circumstances box.

His Special Circumstances box.

Plenty in that container to get this bird to sing, just a matter of finding the right incentive. Get her to open up and tell him who she'd sold the intel to, or where she'd hidden the data sticks she'd stolen, or who she'd worked with to capture Bartowski and Walker.

She may be cool and collected right now, keeping up the pretense of her assumed identity. The kid probably would have fallen for it, especially when she started talking tech. Walker too, maybe. His CIA partner would have kept after this one for a while, trying to get the infamous Raven to slip up, but would likely have given up after a few hours. This lady was damned convincing. But John Casey had her number.

And this time, he had her, along with it.


"Colonel Casey, I need not tell you how dire the situation is." The petite woman on the screen leaned closer to the camera, her normally stern features lined with worry. "Has the prisoner given any indication who may be holding Agents Bartowski and Walker, or where?"

"No, Ma'am," Casey grimaced. "Still not cooperating. Sticking to the same lame story. Claims she's just an IT pro in town for a symposium of sorts."

"Have you tried – "

"I've tried everything, General," the agent cut her off in midsentence, a sign of his growing frustration with the captive. "Everything sanctioned, anyway," he grumbled just within hearing.

Diane Beckman frowned, her lips pursing in thought.

"Every moment of delay in finding them…" The general sighed wearily. "If all conventional methods have been exhausted… Colonel Casey, I can't order or condone methods that are clearly against the Geneva Convention. But given the weight of threat to our national security… it seems creative methods may be our only choice. I trust your judgment, John. We've got to get that information. And I know you'll bear in mind," she warned, "that we still have no confirmation that this woman is indeed The Raven. There's the smallest possibility that she is truly who she claims to be. Do it right."

"I understand, General," Casey nodded, watching as the screen blinked to black. Turning back to the interrogation room, he let a tiny, tight smile steal across his lips. She'd been warned, had been given every opportunity to cooperate and give him the information, to play nice.

Now, he had few choices left. She'd left him no alternative but to play dirty.

The tight smile grew to a wolfish grin.


To be continued…

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