The sounds of the chase echoed through the high vaulted rooms, heavy footsteps and harsh breathing reverberating off the walls. Despite their mistresses' profession, the walls of Carmen Sandiego's home were strangers to such a soundtrack. But this time, she'd been caught by surprise.
Decked out in crimson red, a lithe female figure vaults into her cavernous library, customary taunts for once in abeyance, red fedora clutched protectively in one hand, brunette strands flying over face and shoulders. Even as she ran, a laugh bubbled up from inside and escaped out past her lips- a game, for her it had always been a game, and she knew that in this case her pursuer played too, to some extent. At the moment though… well, after three years of constant taunting, it was possible that he'd snapped. She grinned, still running for dear life, looking at the red fedora in her left hand… and the battered brown one in her right. Who knew that stealing the hat of one Indiana Jones could be so much fun?
Sounds of her pursuit drew closer as Carmen breathlessly skidded around the corner- she had the advantage of knowing her own home, but with both hands full and none of her usual gadgets about her person, Indiana was catching up. She ran towards one room in particular, a room with an extra feature. If she could just make it to her bedroom and its concealed escape hatch, she could get away. Although, the voice in her head asked, did she really want to?
She burst into the room, leaping onto her bed, intending to use it to leap again to the hatch in her roof. As her feet left the covers, however, a sudden crack deafened her, and she was unceremoniously pulled by her left ankle back onto the bed. She landed sprawled across the quilt, dazed by her sudden fall. Damn that man and his whip.
Indiana had chased the slight red figure enough times in the past to know that she was his kind of quarry- a challenge. The number of times he'd woken to an upset Markus on the phone gabbling about some missing piece from his museum and a bizarre clue left in its place- actually, he'd lost count. He liked her treasure hunts, and he'd always retrieved the artefact in question- but he'd never quite been fast enough to catch the true prize before. But this time he'd done his research- having finally located her home, Indy had been able to turn up well before he was due. Besides, she stole his HAT! That made it personal.
So now, stripped of her usual defences, the prize ran before him. He rounded a corner, saw her leap gracefully from the bed, and snapped his whip out in a last-ditch effort, almost surprised when it snaked around her boot and brought her crashing down. As he snatched his worn leather hat from her limp hand, he noticed her eyes were out of focus- her hazy attempts to look at him and her death grip on her own fedora assured him that the shock was temporary only.
His triumphant grin turned mischievous, and he grabbed the red hat with his free hand, leaning over Carmen's face.
" So, Miss Sandiego, did the world's greatest thief just get caught?"
"Caught perhaps, Mr Jones- but I'm very, very good at escaping."
He missed the warning look on her face as crimson lips curved in a merry smile, as her foot kicked out at one of the bedposts, activating the room's other defence- although this one had been intended for an overzealous suitor rather than an intruder. Although with time, Carmen mused, things like that could possibly change. Indiana abruptly fell as a trapdoor opened beneath his feet. He halted for a moment midair when his hold on the red and brown fedoras remained solid- but his hand slipped on one, as Carmen was forced to release the other. As she heard him curse as he slid down the passageway, Carmen looked at the hat in her hand- and again her merry laugh filled the hallways of her home. Walking to her spacious bathroom, she posed in front of the mirror. Despite it's decidedly non-red colouring, Indiana's hat looked quite attractive on the master thief.
In the grounds outside, a battered and bruised Indiana was not amused. Red was decidedly not his colour. But his smile came slowly creeping back when he realised that what he held was a guarantee- a guarantee of another encounter with the vivacious thief.
He could deal with that.