Night's Embrace

Disclaimer: I don't own Sly Cooper or any of the characters from the series. Those are the the property of Sucker Punch.

Master Thief Sly Cooper glanced around from atop his perch on a flickering street lamp. He couldn't help but let a small grin cross his face as he juggled a few wallets he had pick pocketed off a few thugs and the boss of a small Paris gang. He'd even been deft enough to slip his own card into each one of their pockets, so they would know exactly who had pulled off the task. Sly placed his cane in his mouth, so he could empty the contents of the wallets, and then he threw the empty, fake leather wallets into a nearby trash can, which landed with a soft thump on the pile. After placing his earning into his thigh satchel, he jumped from his spot on the street lamp to land softly on a nearby rooftop. He looked up at moonlit sky, and decided that it was time to get back home. Unfortunately, this was the most exciting night in the raccoon's life for the past few weeks which, too say the least, had been incredibly boring. Bentley had been pouring over his computer, trying to find their next heist, but no opportunities manifested for the trio. Sly had to make his own entertainment, by heading to some of the seedier locations in Paris, and just causing general mayhem for regular criminals. Sly began his trek back home, leaping quietly from building to building, unbeknownst to him that he was heading straight towards Inspector Caremilta Fox.

Carmelita Fox huffed as she shut the door on her small red convertible rather forcibly, ringing out loudly in the quiet Paris night, but the streets were empty and most people were asleep. "Another day I've been eluded by that blasted raccoon." She grumbled as she turned on the car alarm and turned towards her apartment building. She pushed back a few strands of her dark hair and rubbed her weary eyes. She'd been working late, like she did most nights, trying to get something substantial on Sly Cooper, the thorn that had been in her side for years. The Cooper gang had been lying low for the past few months, so work was rather slow at the moment; she hoped that Cooper hadn't vanished for good, she still needed to arrest him. She'd been so close to throwing that ringtail behind bars a few months ago, right after the defeat of Clock-la and the demise of the Klaww Gang. Even with him handcuffed in the Interpol helicopter, he'd managed to escape with the help of his friends. After the incident, rumors had circulated around Interpol that Carmelita had let, or even helped, him escape from the law once again, plus a few more raunchy rumors were around, and some people were brazen enough to gossip even when she was around. Such rumors made her blood boil. How dare they think she had some sympathy for that stupid bandit. And boy, did Chief Barkley let her have it then, no one ever dared to talk to Carmelita for a few days because they feared the Chief's rage would come down on them. All she would have to do was catch the thief once again, and then her good named would be cleared once and for all of that raccoons taint.

Carmelita instinctively froze when a shadow eclipsed her form. She turned around quickly to see the imposing image of a very large bulldog, he was wearing tattered jeans and a stained white tank top which showed off his very large arms. "Hey, missy, what's a pretty girlie like yous doing out at this time o' night." He ask, a malicious tone in his heavy, foreign accent.

Carmelita backed away slowly, not liking the bulldogs threatening advances. People didn't approach others in the dead of night just to ask for directions. "My business is my own, buster, so you better get lost before you get the business end of my..." She made a grab for her shock pistol, only to be horrified to discover she had left it back at her office at Interpol. The bulldog chuckled.

"Oh, this fishie has some attitude, I like that." he grinned, showing off his very large, pointed teeth. Caremlita's tail twitched nervously, while she wasn't weak, the muscle on the bulldog was nothing to scoff at.

"I'm an Inspector at Interpol, and I would suggest you back off." Carmelita threatened, hoping it would scare him off.

"Oh, I don't think so, lady. I think the fun just has just begun." The bulldog growled, and with a quickness Carmelita didn't think was possible for one so musclebound, he rushed forward and grabbed her, one hand over her mouth and the other around her waist. "Don't scream, girly, it'll only make things...messier." Carmelita had no intention of screaming, instead she made a quick jab with her elbow to her attackers ribs, and while he reacted involuntarily, she drove her foot into the side of his ankle, making him gasp in surprise and release her from his grasp. Wasting no time, she threw a hard punch right towards his face, a few specks of blood flying from his mouth as he twisted from the blow. He fell to his knee and rubbed his jaw tenderly. "You just made a big mistake." He snarled menacingly as he slowly came to full hight and pulled out a knife from one of his pockets, the blade glinting dully in the moonlight.

He charged froward, the blade held out, Carmelita dodged to the side just in time to feel the air from the knife rush past her body. The bulldog turned around and slashed at the air where Carmelita had been moments before. He jumped forward and slashed again at Carmelita. This time, she wasn't quite fast enough, she could feel the blade slice through the fur on her arm, pain lancing throughout her body. The Inspector grit her teeth and placed a protective hand over the wound. This is bad, really bad. Carmelita thought, she knew she had to get away. The bulldog took advantage of her defensive position and charged her, slamming into her with his large shoulder, sending her stumbling back, slipping on the side of her ankle, and crashed the side of her head into the side of her building, finally letting out a small cry of pain. Her head swam from the blow, everything was fading into black, she could make out a large figure slowly making its way towards her. She struggled to move, but her body refused to budge and everything was fading fast. The last thought she had before blacking out was; Cooper...

Sly could sense something amiss with the night as he made his way back to his safe house. The streets were too empty, the air was silent. The city usually had some activity going on at all times, but now the air was deathly still. He jumped to a high telephone pole, and swiveled his ears around, hoping his sensitive hearing would catch the faintest sound of life. That's when he heard it, a cry so faint, if he hadn't stopped, he would have never heard it. He immediately turned to where he had the cry and leapt forward, hoping he wasn't too late to stop whatever from happening. Running to the edge of the building, he glanced down to see a large figure, a shining knife held in his hand, making his way towards a downed figure slumped against the side of the building. Without thinking, Sly jumped off the building with his cane held ready in his hands. He reared back and, with all the strength he could muster, swung his cane down and slammed it into the unsuspecting attacker's skull several times, a loud thump resounding down the street as the large bulldog crumpled into a pile on the ground, all before Sly landed.

Sly huffed, glancing down at the downed thug, before turning around to see who he had rescued. He couldn't help but let out a gasp as he saw who it was. "In-inspector?" He whispered to himself. She looked in pretty bad shape, her arm was slowly bleeding from a fairly large cut, and she lay perfectly still. He felt a large lump in his throat as he feared the worst. He jumped forward and kneeled right next to the downed Fox. He placed his hand near her mouth, and let out a sigh of relief as he felt her warm, regular breaths on his palm. She was just knocked out by that Muggshot wannabe over there. Sly wanted to help her, but he knew he had to dispose of the bulldog that was still lying in a heap right behind him. Deftly, Sly picked both the Inspector's keys and a pair of handcuffs that she was carrying in her back pocket. First, Sly kicked the knife down a drain in the gutter, then, mustering all the strength he could, Sly drug the bulldog a few buildings down the street and up to an unlighted lamppost. Crossing the thug's arms and wrapping them around the lamppost, Sly handcuffed the bulldog, laughing softly at to what his reaction would be when he woke up. Sly's mirth disappeared as he approached the unconscious Inspector.

"If only I had gotten here sooner" Sly muttered to himself sharply. He kneeled down and slowly pushed back a few strands of her beautiful dark hair. He could see a bump forming near her temple, but at least her breathing was still regular. Placing himself next to her, he placed his arms under her knees and back, and lifted her up. Every time he'd held Carmelita in his arms, she was always surprisingly light. She was always the perfect match of strength, agility, intelligence, and beauty of course. Making his way carefully through the building, Sly carried Carmelita up to her small Paris apartment. He knew exactly where she lived, he'd visited her home many times to check up on her, especially after a particularly tiring day of her chasing after the flirtatious thief. Often times he'd see her pouring over her work, never looking up to see Cooper just outside her window. Sometimes, he would glance in to see the poor inspector had fallen asleep on her table. Every time, he would sneak into her apartment, carefully pick up the dozing Fox, and tuck her into her bed. She tries so hard. Sly would often think to himself. What an incredible woman.

When Sly reached the door to Carmelita's apartment, he very carefully unlocked the door while cradling Carmelita in his arms. Pushing open the door, Sly made his way into Carmelita's room, where he placed the unconscious Inspector softly onto her bed. Quickly making sure that she was in a comfortable position and after leaning his cane against a nightstand, he then ran into her bathroom and opened up the medicine cabinet, pulling out the items that he needed. The first thing Sly was concerned about was the cut on her arm, which luckily was small and superficial enough not to require stitches, he just needed to clean and bandaged it up. He picked up all the items and set them onto a small table next to her bed. He then began to slowly and carefully take off the Inspector's jacket, making sure not to aggravate her wounds in any way. After pulling off the jacket and placing it to the side, Sly looked back at Carmelita, and blushed slightly after realizing that her halter top alone did not leave much to the imagination. Shaking those thoughts from his head, Sly picked up a damp cloth and with great care cleaned the wound of blood, then he grabbed a disinfectant swab and lightly dabbed it over he cut, making sure to clean the whole wound. Then he picked up a few sterile gauze pads and placed them over it, and then finally took the bandage roll and not to tightly wrapped up her arm, cinching it with a small tab when he was done.

Next, Sly wanted to address the small bump on her temple. He figured probably the best thing he could do would just be to put some ice on it, he headed towards her kitchen where he picked up a soft towel, filled it with ice, and tied it up into a bundle and headed back into her room. He placed it carefully on her head, making sure that it wouldn't slide off. Sly stepped back, and looked at the Inspector up and down. Sly had always thought that she was breathtakingly beautiful, and he never failed to mention it to anyone, especially the Inspector herself, which he did solely for the reason that it always seemed to cheer her up a little, even though he was pretty sure she never thought more of it than flirtly chit-chat. Sly then noticed that bottom part of one of her pant legs was torn. He pulled the pant leg up slightly, to see a slightly swollen ankle. Sly left the room to get more ice for her ankle, glancing back at Carmelita before the door, and smiled slightly. "Who could try to hurt such beauty?"

It was while Cooper was out of the room that Carmelita began to stir out of her sleep. Her eyes opened groggily, dulls pains pulsing through her body. She reached up wearily to try and rub her aching head, and was rather surprised to find a soothing bag of ice already on top of her head. Her eyes slowly began to focus, and she glanced at her bandaged arm. "What...happened?" She muttered to herself as she tenderly massaged the ache in her arm. She remembered being knocked down by that thug, but then everything went black. Looking around, she could see that this was her room; she'd been saved, but by whom? That's when a strikingly familiar raccoon walked into the room.

"Ah, I see that Sleeping Beauty has arisen from her sleep; but, alas! The prince has not kissed her yet!" said Sly dramatically, balancing a bottle of aspirin, a glass of water, and a bag of ice in his hands. "Please, you must bestow at least one kiss to your savior, for a touch of your gentle lips would be all the reward I need, milady." Placing the items on the table, he bowed deeply and then tilted his head up towards Carmelita, a large grin on his face.

"C-c-cooper!" Carmelita's face was a mixture of surprise, anger, and humiliation. Of all the people in Paris, why did she have to be saved by that blasted bandit. "G-get out of my house!" she roared, her whole body quivering in rage. Sly straightened, slightly shocked yet amused at her reaction.

"I'm sorry, Inspector, but I can't leave until I tend to all your wounds" He said with a slight shrug and a roguish grin. He reached over for the second bag of ice and made his way to the foot of Carmelita's bed, to try to put the bag onto her swollen ankle. He met with resistance, however, as the furious Inspector lashed out at him with her foot, trying to knock Sly away. "Please, Miss Fox, I'm just trying to help. I don't want you to aggravate that twisted ankle, I want you to heal as fast as possible so you can get back on your feet and back on my tail."

Carmelita settled down, but not before crossing her arms and glowering at him. "How dare you, ringtail. I should arrest you right here on the spot."

"Yes, yes, my lovely Inspector, but can't you at least give me a few minutes more? I'm not quite done yet." Sly said soothingly, placing the bag of ice on her ankle, making sure it was sitting right. "You know, Miss Fox, you must have the reflexes of a Cooper, to get away from that criminal out there with only a small cut like that."

"Hmph" Carmelita scowled, but a very light blush ran across her face and she fingered the bandages softly. Reaching over, Sly opened the bottle and poured a few aspirin into his open palm. He grabbed the glass of water and handed them to the Inspector. While she took the aspirin, Sly pulled up a small chair next to Carmelita's bed.

"Are you comfortable? Are you feeling all right?" He reached over to fluff her pillow a bit, but she batted away his hands and glared at him.

"I'm fine, Cooper. So keep those hands to yourself." She growled angrily.

"Sorry, Inspector. I'm just trying to make sure you're perfectly fine." He said with a slight shrug. "At least that bump on your head didn't change your personality; you're as charming as ever, my Steel Magnolia." He flashed her his most dashing smile. A deep flush rushed over Carmelita before she realized what she was doing. Sly always had a way of making her feel, well, strange, a feeling she got from no other person. A few moments passed by, Carmelita slowly running her fingers over the smooth, cool surface of the now empty glass. Carmelita thought back to the fight, realizing that the last thought on her mind before blacking out was about Sly Cooper.

"Why do you keep doing this?" She asked softly, breaking the silence. Sly blinked, then leaned forward and looked questioningly at Carmelita.

"What do you mean, Inspector?"

"This. Why do you always insist on taking care of me...saving me." Carmelita whispered the final two words so quietly, Sly really wasn't sure if it was his imagination or not. He leaned back; one ear twitched, and looked at the Inspector for a few moments. Carmelita thought back to her past run ins with Sly Cooper; despite the fact that she'd made it her life's work to put him behind bars, Sly was always there when she needed help the most. He'd rescued her from Clockwerk's trap in the Russian mountains, he'd helped her escape from Prague after she'd gotten out of the Contessa's clutches, which she also suspected was with the help of Cooper.

"Inspector..." Sly started, but he was cut off by Carmelita.

"And you better be truthful, criminal, because I'll know if you're lying to me." Carmelita growled, her normal demeanor returning. Sly thought briefly about his answer.

"Well...every Cooper has always developed a special relation...er, bond with the law enforcement officer that chases after them. My ancestor "Tennessee Kid" Cooper would often play cards with the Ranger that chased him all across the Old West. Plus, being a thief wouldn't be as much fun without you on my tail, Miss Fox."

Carmelita crossed her arms, while he was being truthful, she knew he wasn't being completely honest with his reasons. "Why me? There are plenty of other, less capable officers at Interpol I'm sure you'd rather having chasing after you."

"Being a master thief calls for much more than taking it easy. I'm proud to know the fact that I'm being chased by the very best of Interpol, Inspector. You're the most intelligent, resourceful, caring, talented, dedicated, and may I say the most beautiful officer of the law that I have had the pleasure of laying my eyes on." Sly flashed her another one of his handsome smiles, taking every opportunity to compliment her about her lovely features, and Carmelita felt her face begin to flush. She looked down, so Sly couldn't see her red face. "There's no one else in the whole world I rather have chasing me than you. I don't know what'd I do without my lovely Inspector." Silence ensued, Carmelita looked up, her brown eyes meeting with Sly's chocolate eyes. Carmelita's mouth opened slightly, but she closed it again before she said anything. Sly realized he should probably change the subject.

"Now what was such a pretty lady like you doing out so late?" Sly asked casually, but of course he knew the answer. Carmelita froze for a few seconds, then she became her usual self again.

"What do you think, criminal? I was working on your case!" Carmelita nearly yelled, her Spanish accent flaring up. It took all her will not to throw the empty glass in her hand at his head, so she placed it on the nightstand, rather forcibly, and glared at him in silent fury. A rather somber expression was on Sly's face.

"I'm sorry, Inspector. I never really meant to be a handful for someone."

That was it, Carmelita exploded, her fur bristling dangerously. "You never MEANT for this to happen, Cooper? I don't think you don't realize how much of a 'handful' you really are, you blasted raccoon." Carmelita was letting her anger get the better of her, but she needed to vent. "I've spent years of my life chasing after you, and for what? To have everyone at Interpol talk about me behind my back, to be passed up for every promotion, to be ridiculed and laughed at?" Tears of anger and frustration welled up in her eyes, but she blinked them back.

"Carmelita..." Sly was stunned by her sudden outburst. "I...I..." Sly wasn't sure exactly what he wanted to say. He didn't know that he was the cause of so much misery in her life. He'd always thought that the only victims of his crimes were the criminals that he stole from, but here was an honest officer who's life had been turned upside down when he entered her life.

"You what, Cooper?" Carmelita snapped, her rage slowly subsiding. She knew she was being harsher on Sly than she needed to be, he had never been less than a gentleman to her.

Three words were on Sly's tongue, but he swallowed them down. "I...I'm sorry." He murmured, barely above a whisper. His ears lowered, and he stared at the ground. "I didn't know that I..." He couldn't finish the end of his sentence. Carmelita had never seen Sly so down, so depressed, so...defeated. The normally suave and cool raccoon now seemed badly shaken. Now she felt ashamed at how she had yelled at Sly, what she said really seemed to hit him hard.

"Cooper, I'm..." Carmelita started, but she was cut off by Sly.

"No, Inspector, I...I'll just go." He said quietly, rising to his feet and grabbing his cane. Carmelita didn't know what to say till Sly was nearly out of the room.

"Sly, wait..." He froze at the sound of her voice. He stood there for a few seconds before speaking.

"I've never thanked you, Carmelita." He began, "for all your help. You've saved me from Clockwerk twice." A few moments passed. "I remember those few minutes so perfectly, after you destroyed the hate chip. I don't think I've ever seen you as lovely as you were then, the dawn's early light illuminating your features and the breeze flowing through your beautiful hair. Those few moments were perfect." Carmelita was astounded by what he said, he said it with such sincerity that she felt a wonderful shiver run up her back. Carmelita reached up and grabbed the ice bag on her head, which was a bit watery now, and placed it on the table beside her bed.

"Sly, I...I didn't mean what I said. I'm sorry." she apologized, looking down at her hands, feeling immature. "I didn't mean to take it out on you. All of this happened because of me, my failings. Maybe I..."

Sly turned around and looked at the Inspector. "Carmelita..." She looked up at him and their eyes met once again. Carmelita had never realized how bright Sly's eyes were, glowing with compassion, a mischievous glint ever present. Sly noticed that her eyes were tearing ever so slightly. He moved forward and sat back down next to her. Not knowing what to say, Sly gently placed his hand on hers to comfort her. Carmelita was rather shocked, but she did not try to pull away, instead she laced her fingers with his, grateful for his comforting touch. She didn't know why she did it, but it just felt right. She looked back up into Sly's eyes, and they both could tell something had changed. They both stared longingly at each other.

Kiss me.

Inch by inch, their faces slowly moved towards each other. Carmelita closed her eyes, waiting in eager anticipation for a kiss that she didn't know until this moment she desired with all her heart. Their lips met in a gentle kiss, passions building in both of them. Moving onto her bed so he could sit next to her, Sly brought up his free hand and slowly began to stroke the soft fur on her cheek, while they continued to kiss. Parting, they gazed lovingly at each other. "Carmelita, I love you." Sly whispered breathlessly.

Carmelita wrapped her arms around Sly, and leaned her head against his athletic chest. "I love you, too, Sly." He began to run his hand slowly through her long, dark hair and his other arm wrapping around Carmelita's lithe frame, holding her close. Neither of them was sure how this was going to affect their future, but they were sure they would work through it, together.

End

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