Disclaimer: Sly Cooper and the Gang belong to Sucker Punch
Teaser: Mommy, why don't we have a daddy?
Notes: I've been a fan of Sly Cooper since game one, but surprisingly enough only the third game inspired this short fic. Because I love Carmelita. And I love Sly. And I love them together. But with a general dose of angst to top it all of.
/Tell Me Pretty Lies/
"Mommy, why don't we have a daddy?"
Big, wide eyes. Innocent and questioning, peering over the edge of a sheet.
Her hands still on the blanket she is tucking in around him. For a moment her paws tremble, her head bows. Her eyes are covered by her thick braid of blue hair.
The tiny boy with the matching hair color continues to look at her with open regard. He has always been thoughtful and quiet.
And he looks so much like her. So much like her that very few people ever think that his father was anything but a fox. No one thinks back to the raccoon that she used to hunt. No one notices the matching eye color and chin, or the subtle stripes that decorate his fur. No one notices.
She is relieved. Selfishly relieved.
But this, this is the moment she has feared since she woke up one night with the calm, nearly nostalgia knowledge that the left side of her bed was empty.
In the beginning there had been anger. How could she have not known? He was thief, worse a liar. He was—is—a criminal. She dedicated years of her life to see him behind bars only to trick herself into believing in happily ever afters when she knew—knew—there was no such thing.
Carmelita Montoya Fox is brought back into the present, painfully, ripped away from the past and her musings.
Ryan Fox is gripping the sheet hard between his tiny paws. But she knows that they will be strong, those paws. And quick. Like his father's.
Her fingers are working again, trailing up to ruffle his blue hair—her hair, thank God—and she manages a smile.
"I told you, baby, some people don't need daddies. We don't."
"I know," Ryan answers with a frown that is more of a scowl. That, too, he gets from his mother. She thinks that there is rarely a cocky, arrogant smile on his face. That is something that he has not acquired—though a dread, hated voice whispers breathily into her ear: yet.
But Carmelita knows she is thankful for it.
She can handle the stares and the whispers. When her husband disappeared like a thief in the night she ignored the whispers like a woman of her caliber can and carried on with her life. Snide marks and smirks behind her back were nothing compared to that dull ache somewhere unnamable deep inside her chest.
But then she was pregnant. Suddenly, the world had found a new way to spin.
It would have been possible for her to continue the life she had made for herself—worked hard for, struggled and labored and bled for—if it hadn't been for the life she found herself carrying.
So she quit. She handed in her resignation as soon as the home pregnancy test had announced the oncoming new life. Chief Johnson had been still fond of her enough to write a letter of recommendation to the FBI.
Now that life was beneath her, staring up at the badge that glowed in his dim lamplight. Her paws closed over the badge.
I forgot to take it off. I always take it off… she thinks because thinking that is better than thinking of anything else.
"Than why do you want to know?" she asks her son, amused when he gives her a sagely look.
There is, she thinks with great relief, nothing of his father in him.
"Jenny Carl said that my father was a bad man… and that's why I ain't got one," Ryan admits weakly, perhaps embarrassed that such a statement bothered him. He is like his mother, strong and uncaring of what those around him think. "So I wanted to know who he was."
"Your father…" she says dully, sitting on his bed, keeping her hand lightly on his arm. "He's… he's…"
Her son knows her better perhaps than she does herself and he is curling himself around her neck before the words are even leaving her mouth.
"It's okay. You don't have to, Mommy."
"He had to leave," she tells him softly, touching his trembling back. "He didn't know about you. If he had, he would have stayed."
"You think so?" His hand is hastily wiping at tears. He hates to cry as much as his mother does.
"Yeah." She doesn't tell him she might be wrong. She might be lying.
Maybe they both need to believe it.
"Why didn't he stay then? And find out about me?"
"I don't know, baby." And she never would. She tucks him back in quietly, stroking his sleepy head before leaving the room.
She switches off the light just as the first tear falls. Then she straightens her shoulders and walks out, her eyes dry.
Though she will admit it to no one, she likes to think that he left her to fight some big threat to the world. Though he was little more than a petty thief, she liked to believe that there was a reason he left, a purpose to that harsh action.
It was nearly impossible for her to believe that he woke up one night and decided that he missed his old life, packed his things, and shattered her very existence.
Yet, in her most bitter moments she does.
Her hands closed into fists. If he was here she would hit him.
And she then she would hold him.
She thinks she is pathetic.
Because she can't stop herself, Carmelita goes back to her son's room and holds herself stiff at his threshold.
Ryan is curled under his covered, his head poking out only slightly.
If it had been him in Ryan's place she was sure the blanket would have been swung out under him, his arms and legs sprawled out against the entire bed. He had been a bed hog. Ryan curled into a ball. Carmelita did too.
With a dull thud, Carmelita thinks there is nearly nothing of his father in Ryan.
And this time it hurts.
Allowing herself only a small sniffle, Carmelita turns to go.
She thinks she could hate Sly Cooper.
If only she didn't love him so much. If only Ryan Fox wasn't his son. If only he hadn't spent those years, pretending to be her partner, and then husband. Then she could hate him, wholly and utterly.
And even with all that burning love inside her—for Cooper, for her son—she nearly hates him. Hate and anger have always come easy to her. And life has taught her to accept them more readily than love. Because love hurt much more than anything else.
She resents him entirely.
And she misses him to no end.
Mommy, why don't we have a daddy?
Carmelita really wishes she knew.
notes: pft. Like Sly would do that... er, right?