Jefe ("father")

- - - love you, dad.

Carmelita tugged her leather jacket closer, feeling the wind ruffle her fur affectionately. She sighed deeply. The grass was well-tended—something that spoke volumes of the maintenance crew. Everything was trimmed carefully and flowers were stacked high every few feet. Everything was clean, quiet, and well-kept—all important traits to look for in a cemetery. But Carmelita wasn't one to deny her father the smallest expense.

Iñigo Montoya Fox—Loving Father and Husband.

Carmelita laid a white cyclamen on the headstone, folding her hands respectfully. "Well. Father's Day comes faster these days." She had never been shy talking to her father—or the air. It was as much for her as him. "I haven't caught him yet," she added. Iñigo was well-informed of the Sly Cooper drama. "I was so close, jefe!

"I really did have him. I mean, in my house and everything. And not in a bad way, so don't think that. He needed somewhere to stay. We were in different rooms and everything. He was all beat up from his battle—this psychotic Dr. M. I thought he had amnesia, so I told him…" Carmelita rubbed the back of her neck self-consciously. "I told him that we were partners. I know, soy una chica loca." She paused. "Love makes you do crazy things."

Carmelita's lips turned up unconsciously. "I woke up to the smell of bacon. He was already awake, and had decided to make breakfast. Can you believe it? He's actually a great cook. I gained ten pounds while he was there…" She trailed off. "But Sly's Sly. I found out he didn't have amnesia, and that he'd been lying to me. But I just couldn't find it in myself to be angry at him." She chucked dryly. "Yeah, believe it or not, for once Carmelita Fox didn't lose her temper."

A twig cracked behind her, and Carmelita swung around. "Who's there? Show yourself!" She'd come unarmed, save a can of Mace. She pointed said can at a large willow tree. "Five seconds." Not a sound. "Four… three… two…"

A long branch twisted as someone shimmied down, feet barely brushing the ground as he landed. Only one person Carmelita knew shimmied like that…

"Cooper." Carmelita was seething. "You have no right to be here."

He actually seemed embarrassed. "I was here already, and then I saw you--"

"Having a private conversation." Carmelita's voice was cold enough to freeze hell itself over. The conversation itself was so scared that it up the tree and climbed into a knothole, deciding to lay low for awhile. For several moments they both stood there, locked in a battle of wills. For once, it wasn't much of a contest.

Sly took off his cap and rubbed at his fur. "My dad's here, too," he said, so quietly that Carmelita could barely hear.

The vixen blushed, but held her ground. "Really?" she said doubtfully.

Sly looked up at her, a twinge of anger in his eyes. "Yes, really, Inspector. It's unmarked." He paused. "We're thieves. We don't have the luxury of a marked headstone."

Great. Now she felt bad. "Lo siento. I didn't mean to offend."

Sly nodded. "Neither did I. Let's just forget about it."

The conversation poked its head out of the knothole, tip-toeing its way back to the pair cautiously. "So… you come here every Father's Day?" Sly offered lamely.

Carmelita nodded. "Mm-hmm. You?"

The raccoon shook his head. "Nah. I'm usually out of town. I'd like to think he understands, seeing as he was the same way." Sly chuckled softly, and Carmelita relaxed a bit.

"I can't imagine growing up with a thief as a father. What, did he steal you your birthday presents?"

"Only on my fourth." Sly flashed her a grin. "I wanted homemade Coca-Cola, so he stole the recipe."

Carmelita shook her head. "I wondered which side you inherited your insanity from." She turned back to her father's headstone. "My dad was shot in a gang fight. That's why I wanted to a cop, really. To find the guys who did it and throw them in jail for the rest of their lives."

"Did you?"

Carmelita laughed humorlessly. "It was ten years until I got on the force. By the time I got ahold of the investigation, it had been cold for a decade. I didn't have a chance."

Sly looked down. "Sorry."

The pair fell silent. Sly twirled his cane absently, twirling the deadly heirloom as effortlessly as a poker player bounces a chip on his fingers. Carmelita pulled her jacket closer, feeling the wind whip at her hair. She looked at Sly, who was in the usual blue blazer. "Aren't you cold?"

He shrugged. "Nah. Jean Bison's was worse. Eventually, you get used to it." He kicked a pebble. They both watched it skitter across the yard.

"Why did you leave?" Carmelita said quietly. Time to deal with the elephant in the room.

Sly shrugged, looking at his feet. "Lots of reasons. I missed Bentley and Murray. I missed stealing. I missed being myself. I mean, even I can't keep up being a separate person forever." He locked eyes with Carmelita. "I always wanted you with me. And that day I guess it just sunk in… that living a lie wasn't the way to do it."

Carmelita looked away. "As much as I hate to say it, Cooper… it makes sense." She swiped a hand at her eyes, trying to force back the knot in her throat.

Sly stepped forward, folding the vixen into his arms. "It killed me, Carmelita. It still does."

She didn't say a word. She couldn't.

The two stood there, with both parents watching in a roundabout sort of way. After a few minutes Sly pulled back and wiped the tears off Carmelita's face with his thumbs and smoothed back her hair. "We can make 'us' happen, Carmelita. It might just take some work and some compromise."

She nodded. "All right, Ringtail. Since no lightning has come down from heaven and smote you, I guess my dad approves of you." Sly laughed quietly and mouthed a 'thank you' to the headstone.

Sly took Carmelita's hand and kissed it lightly, placing something in her palm. "I'll be in touch." He tipped his hat, scooped up his cane, and was gone in a flash.

Carmelita looked after him for a while. "I would say he's a catch, jefe," she told her father, "but I just can't seem to catch him." Something scratched her ear and Carmelita reached up a hand, touching something soft. He'd left a rose in her hair. She shook her head, grinning.

Someday she'd have to find Connor Cooper. It would seem they had a lot to talk about.

"Jefe" is Spanish slag for "father." And white cyclamens symbolize resignation and goodbyes. Another Sly/Carm, because I just can't keep my keyboard from writing it.

Thanks to all my reviewers for "Grey." I love reviews; please leave them! On another note, do you have a Sly/Carm or just some fun idea with the characters you'd always like to see written-- have them pull of a heist together, get stuck in an awkward situation, show up at the same party? Write me a request. If I like it, I'll write it for you! Challenge me.

Thanks, everybody!