A/N: I thought about doing this piece from the POV of the player, AKA, me, but thought it would be more fun to do it from Sly's POV. Set in the second game, we've all done this, I'm sure.

Disclaimer; Sly Cooper et al belongs to the wonderful people at Sucker Punch Productions, I'm just borrowing and abusing, (again).

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Shiny Pockets and Bouncing Bottles

Raven Ehtar

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Sly exited the building via an upstairs window. It had been an easy job to pull, and he had even gotten a piece of art out of it as a bonus. If he could get it to the safe house without damage, it would equal a pretty purse for him and his gang. With a self-satisfied grin, Sly began the trek to the safe house, opting to stay high on the roofs, rather than going on the streets.

There were a few guards hanging out on the roofs, but they were easy to avoid, as most of them were sleeping on the job. As he was passing one snoring particularly loudly, he noticed a certain shine coming from his back pocket. Normally it would be best to let a sleeping guard lie when he had something as fragile as a painting strapped to his back… But he was very asleep… and the pocket was shining so fiercely…

Using his cane at a long distance, Sly cleaned out the sleeping guard's pocket, until he had a small golden comb with a little jewel set in it. Not bad for a little bit of unplanned thievery.

Leaving the sleeping guard, he continued. He didn't go far before he noticed another shining pocket. Only this one belonged to a guard who was walking on the street. He should really leave it be and find him again when he didn't have expensive art to worry over… but he was going Sly's way… and the first pick pocketing had gone well enough…

He leapt down and started picking the pocket before his feet even touched the ground. This guard had more money in his pocket than the first, and a gold watch to boot!

Thanking his uncanny thief skills and sense for loot, Sly was about to vault back up to the rooftops when he heard a distinctive little tink-tink behind him. He knew that sound. He had heard it before. It was one of those clue bottles that Bentley loved solving. And which led to even more goodies. Sly looked, but there were only bushes behind him. It was so close, it couldn't be anywhere else. He couldn't stay on the ground any longer, or a passing guard might spot him. He vaulted to the roof and looked back down to see if a higher vantage helped.

It did. The bottle wasn't on the ground where he had been, but on a small balcony above. It had been hanging over his head the whole time. He jumped for the balcony and plucked the piece of rolled paper out. The clue was all gibberish to him, but he was sure Bentley would see something in it.

Tucking the clue into his red leg-pack, he continued again. Barely ten yards later, he saw another shining pocket out of the corner of his eye. Another one? he thought.

It was on the streets again, and going his way, but this was one of the big bruiser guards, smart enough to carry a flashlight and gun. This one was really better left alone… But…

Returning to the roof a few moments later, he was scowling. For such a big guy, he had had very little on him, and the shine Sly had seen had been nothing but a crummy bronze pen. 'Disappointing' didn't even cover it.

Once again, he turned his feet towards the safe house. This was turning out to be a longer job than anyone thought, but at least he was getting something out of it: a beautiful, pricey painting, and plenty of little things to sell on Thief Net. And they were a little closer to cracking whatever code was in those bottles.

On cue, a tiny tink-tink made it to Sly's ears, making them twitch. Without seeming to instruct his body to do so, he turned from his path to track down the insidious sound. He found it under a small bridge, and removed the clue. The bottle stopped bouncing, but the tink-tink continued. Obviously another bottle was near by. He searched for five minutes without any luck.

Where was it! Not behind the potted plants, under the tables, on inconspicuous balconies, nowhere! Out of desperation, he climbed a drain pipe to a third story roof, and found the dancing bottle, precariously balanced on the tip of the pipe. Taking the clue, Sly wondered who it was who had to hide these things.

He was perhaps a block away from the safe house when he saw yet another shining pocket on a flashlight guard. He was more than thirty minutes late, but this guard was so close! Even if he was walking away from the safe house, he would barely add another minute to Sly's time.

Sly jumped down and trailed after the guard. He was walking quickly, and Sly had to struggle to keep up and stay quiet at the same time. Coins came flying out of his pocket in large bundles, there was surely a good prize in this guard's pocket! He was just easing the last item out when the guard suddenly stopped. Sly, in his eagerness to get out everything, didn't notice and brake in time, and crashed into the back of the guard.

There was a horrible second where neither of them did anything, and just stood there, computing what had happened. Then the guard began to turn, pulling out his gun, and Sly sprang away. The first shot missed, but alerted every other guard in the area that something was wrong, and they came running. The second shot was only grazing, and it was the painting that took it. As guard came from all sides, Sly threw down a smoke bomb. When the air cleared and the guards had finished coughing, they began searching for the raccoon, who was already four blocks away, high tailing it across the roofs.

The painting was ruined and worthless, so he dumped it. Even considering all of the loot he had gathered from pick-pocketing, it didn't cover what he had lost with the painting. That was the price of avarice, he supposed. He would just have to head back to the safe house with only a few trinkets.

An hour later, beaten and bruised, Sly arrived at the safe house stairs. He had intended to go straight there, but every time he saw a shine or heard a tink, he had to take them. It was becoming – no, it was compulsive. He had gotten caught another three times, (a personal worst), and he had only had two more smoke bombs with him. The last time he had gotten caught he had had to fight his way out of it. After that final failure he had resorted to desperate measures, covering both ears with his hands and only watching the ground by his feet. It was dangerous traveling like that, considering he couldn't see guards ahead of time or hear their approach, but he had to find some way of getting back to the safe house without being dragged off course.

It had worked, dangerous or not, and he was safe. Wherever this near kleptomaniac phase had come from, it was over now.

A single gloved finger had touched the doorknob when his uncovered ear made out a tiny tink-tink-tink.