All The Kings Horses

By Jonathan "KnightMysterio" Spires

Sly Cooper and all related characters are copyrighted to Sucker Punch and used without permission for non-profit amusement purposes. All original characters copyrighted to myself, so ask me first before using, please. Constructive criticism, comments, and especially compliments, are welcome.

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A museum...

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Three figures worked furtively as they removed paintings and statues from their place. One of them, a massive, pale purple walrus with a broken tusk, grunted softly under the weight of the priceless artwork.

"Careful, McSweeny," said the smallest of the three, a wiry mandrill with dark purple fur, "That statue's worth millions."

"I know what I'm doing, Doctor M," the walrus grunted, although he said it good naturedly, "This isn't my first art heist."

The third of the trio, a wiry, slender raccoon with a goatee in a blue shirt and hat ran past McSweeny, putting a painting in the truck they were using to haul their stolen art. "Still, the doc's right," he said, patting McSweeny and helping him get the statue in the van. "ThiefNet won't accept broken loot."

McSweeny snorted, chuckling at his smaller companion as he twirled his cane. "Geez, Conner. It'll be fine. Relax."

Doctor M agreed. "You've been overly tense ever since your son was born, Conner. Calm down before you blow a mission."

Conner Cooper sighed. "I know I know... Let's just get this done..."

Doctor M shook his head, turning back to monitoring the security screens, as was his role in this particular job. "Well, at least you're acting more professional on this. I was starting to wonder if you were letting Diego find you."

Conner chuckled weakly, taking another painting off of the wall. "Believe me, Marius," he said, calling Doctor M by his real name, "Diego's the last one I want to see on my last mission out."

Doctor M and McSweeny both whirled, turning towards Conner in shock. He nodded. "I'm retiring, guys. This is gonna be my last heist with you. The Cooper Gang is officially done."

McSweeny shook his head, confused. "But... Conner, why?"

Doctor M scowled. "Indeed. You owe us an explanation, Conner."

Conner rubbed his temples. "It's... It's Clockwerk. Last time we fought, he nearly killed me. And the whole time I was thinking... 'who will raise Sly?' His mother's dead, and I can't think of anyone I can trust to raise him right, raise him like a Cooper..."

Similar thoughts passed through both McSweeny and Doctor M's heads. What about us? We've been working together for years, and we're practically his uncles already... But while McSweeny dismissed the unintentional insult, Doctor M held onto it, adding to the list of other times that Conner had talked down to them without realizing it.

Conner smiled weakly. "You've been great teammates. And great friends. I'll miss you."

McSweeny smiled, and hugged Conner. "I'll miss you too, Ringtail."

Doctor M sighed. He had done his best to be a friend to Conner, but the raccoon never really fully returned the feeling. He shook his head and smiled, shaking Conner's hand. "I suppose I'll miss you as well," he said. "If nothing else, at least I'll have time to focus on my own projects."

"You'll have plenty of time to work in prison, Doc," said a voice. The three thieves whirled, seeing a mustached, ponytailed fox in a brown bomber jacket, blue jeans, and a blue polo shirt. He smirked, holding up his badge and aiming his shock pistol at the trio.

"I can appreciate your sentiment, Conner," the fox said, "About wanting to set a good example for your son. I've been trying to do that for my little Carmelita ever since she was born."

Conner, unable to resist the change for banter, grinned and said, "Nice to know we're on the same wavelength, Diego."

Diego smirked, and continued. "But to tell you the truth, I think you're setting the wrong example for... Sylvester, was it?"

Conner chuckled. "Yeah, that was the name his Mom gave him. He hates it though, so we just call him Sly," he said, subtly gesturing to McSweeny and Doctor M. Understanding, they slowly moved away, getting ready to make a break for it.

"Heh. Good name, either way. Anyway, why don't you turn yourself in? Do your time, let your boy know that his father's a good man?" Diego said. He noticed the other two slowly backing away, but ignored them for now. He was ready for this...

Conner smirked. "Diego, Diego, Diego. All this time and you haven't yet figured out that a thief can be a good man too? I'm hurt."

Diego laughed, surprising all of them. "True enough," he said. "But I have known you long enough to learn something. All the exits are covered, Conner Cooper. You and the rest of the Cooper Gang are under arrest."

It was then that the three thieves noticed the lights for the first time, none of them with their sirens on. Doctor M ran up to the monitors and checked them again. His eyes widened in shock when he realized that he had been tricked. "They had the images on a loop! Conner, we've been had!"

Conner just smirked. "I'm impressed, Diego!"

Diego grinned. "I'm not done yet," he said, snapping his fingers. Dozens of camouflaged SWAT officers appeared, all with shock pistols trained on the three of them. Doctor M quickly backed away as a hidden SWAT officer landed on the monitor he was at, backing up to join Conner and McSweeny by the van.

"We have to get out of here, Conner," Doctor M said.

"I'm open to suggestions, Doc," Conner muttered, crouching down and brandishing his cane, ready to fight.

McSweeny, however, had a determined look on his face. "Conner... Doc... On my signal, you both get in the van and ram your way out of here. Forget about the loot. Just get to safety."

Doctor M raised his eyebrows in surprise. "McSweeny, don't be foolish! With our records, you'll be locked up beyond our ability to rescue you."

McSweeny just grinned. "I'm not about to let my two bestest buds go to jail, now am I?"

Doctor M shook his head. "Conner, talk him out of this."

Conner, however, just looked into McSweeny's eyes, seeing the determination, the certainty... the resignation. He nodded, Doctor M giving Conner an incredulous look. "You... You're just going to..."

Diego watched this hushed exchange with concern. "What are you up to?" he muttered.

He got an idea a moment later, when McSweeny charged into the assembled SWAT officers, wading in with fists blazing even as he was battered with shock rifle blasts. As soon as McSweeny had the attention of the gathered law enforcers, Conner threw down a smoke bomb, covering both he and Doctor M. Diego snarled and fired a few shots into the smoke, paling when he heard the sound of the escape van's engine starting up. Diego megajumped down to the van and grabbed onto the roof as he peeled out, spilling paintings and statues from the still open doors. He tried to hang on, but they crashed through the front doors, the shards of glass forcing him to let go to protect his face. The van sped off, a few cars in pursuit, but Diego knew that Cooper would lose them. He was too good at his work...

"This isn't over, Cooper!" Diego snarled to the air, "I swear on everything I am that I WILL see you behind bars!"

Diego shook his head, turning to head inside, being met halfway by a SWAT officer, who saluted him. "Inspector Fox," she said, "McSweeny is secured."

Diego nodded. "Well, that's something, at least. One third of the Cooper Gang in custody. Good work."

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

In the van...

After losing the pursuers...

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"You miserable bastard," Doctor M snarled.

Conner rubbed his temple again, a headache building. "Doc, please, not now..."

"You... You just LEFT him there..." Doctor M sputtered, aghast at the seeming betrayal of his comrade.

"It was the best solution at the time," Conner said slowly.

"You didn't even try to think of a better solution! You just... SACRIFICED HIM! Like he was just some piece on a gameboard!" Doctor M raged.

"Doc, that's not the case," Conner said, staring out at the road as he drove, trying to think of a way to phrase it.

"And that's all McSweeny and I ever were to you..." Doctor M said, his voice quiet, as if he had come to a conclusion that had been right under his nose all this time. "Expendable pawns. Minions. SIDEKICKS!"

Conner stared at Doctor M in shock, taking in the fury in the mandrill's face with a wounded expression. "Doc... Doc, no..."

"You've NEVER given McSweeny and I the credit we deserve! NEVER!" Doctor M snarled, "It's always been about you, about your precious Cooper name, about the legacy of vandals in that stupid book of yours!"

"HEY!" Conner shouted, indignant. He wasn't about to let his family name get insulted, not even by a friend.

Doctor M continued, heedless. "You were never our friends," he hissed, Conner wincing again, "You never gave us an ounce of praise for our help on jobs. I've wasted ten years of my life as your stooge, and I've had more than enough."

Conner frowned, saddened by the Doctor's rant. Mainly because he knew he was right. "Doc..."

Doctor M shook his head, turning away. "Just let me out at the next light. I'll make my way home from there..."

Conner stared at him and nodded. The next stoplight was red, so Conner let Doctor M leave, the mandrill heading off on his own. Conner shook his head sadly as he drove off.

"It isn't that I don't consider you friends... You both... You're the best friends a thief like me could have... Hell, without you, Doc, I never would have figured out how to do my laser slide move... It's just... I've never... never really been good at telling people how I feel about them..." Conner said softly.

Doctor M, muttering and grumbling to himself, walked back to his apartment, the top floor of an old building that he owned. He rented out the lower floors to tenants, keeping the entire top floor as his living quarters and laboratory. He intended to lose himself in his experiments, and try to forget tonight ever happened.

Fate was not on Doctor M's side.

As he entered the apartment, he found that all the lights were out. He frowned, having thought he left at least one on before leaving. He dusted the plaster dust from the botched job off of his white labshirt and felt around for the nearest lamp.

"Here, lemme help wit' dat," said a gruff voice, a light clicking on.

"Oh, thank you," Doctor M said. The moment he said it, however, he realized two frightening things. One, he was not alone in his home, the location of which was SUPPOSED to be a secret that only Conner and McSweeny knew, like their own homes were.

And two, he knew who the voice belonged to.

The light clicked on, revealing a massive bulldog with an impressive mustache and tremendous arms, two Tommy guns holstered on his back. He grinned viciously. "The doctor is in," he quipped.

"Muggshot!" Doctor M almost moaned. He slowly backed away, and bumped into what fell like a wall of fur. He whirled, seeing the cold, cruel face of the Panda King looming over him. He fell over in fright, trying to back away, only for Sir Raleigh to look down from the table he had been sitting on.

"Good day, Doctor M. And I must say, it was quite a chore finding your residence. You hid it quite well," he said, the frog grinning that twisted, cruel grin of his.

Doctor M staggered to his feet, and tried to run for the door again, only for a massive green tail to shoot out of the shadows behind Panda King, tripping him up. He looked in the direction of the tail, shivering in fright as he saw Miz Ruby step out, the fat-bellied voodoo crocodile chuckling wickedly. Doctor M backed away, scooting on his butt to try and escape the four deadly criminals currently blocking his exit.

And then he heard something that made his blood run cold.

"Doctor," hissed the coldest, most evil voice he had heard in his life.

Doctor M gulped nervously, and slowly turned around. Silhouetted by the darkness, only his cruel smirk and horrible golden eyes visible, stood Clockwerk, the mechanical bird eyeing him as a Feral bird of prey would eye a mouse.

"What... What do you want?" Doctor M almost shrieked, too terrified to think straight. The mere fact that the Fiendish Five, the deadliest enemies of the Cooper Gang, was in his home was more than even his genius mind could handle.

"Do not fear, Doctor," Clockwerk said, his voice the sound of death itself, "We come to you in friendship and understanding this night."

Doctor M gave the metal monstrosity of an owl an incredulous look. "'Friendship?' 'Understanding?' You have to be kidding me. I've lost count of the number of times you five have tried to kill us!"

Clockwerk just smirked. "Ah, but each time, I was observing. We all were. And we saw the pain you suffer. So similar to us..."

Doctor M shook his head, confused and frightened. "What... What are you talking about?"

"We know how Connah treats ya," Muggshot said, hooking his fingers into his belt and relaxing his stance.

"We understand de indignities chu suffer," Miz Ruby said, idly cuddling the impassive Panda King's arm.

Sir Raleigh hopped down from the table and smiled. "Think about it, my good man. As a fellow man of science, I know full well how hard it is to work under your intellectual inferiors. I have been luckier than most in that those three over there, " he said, gesturing to Panda King, Miz Ruby, and Muggshot, "either understand what I'm saying well enough to follow my explanations, or in Muggshot's case, trust me enough to go with what I'm saying after someone explains a simple version of what I said to him. But you... My my, Doctor M... You have never gotten the credit you deserved, have you?"

Doctor M flinched. He had said something similar earlier tonight. "That's... That's none of your business!" he snapped.

"Doctor..." Clockwerk said, making Doctor M shiver in fright. "Look at me..."

Doctor M gulped nervously, and looked up at Clockwerk, staring into those horrifying metal eyes. Clockwerk narrowed those demonic eyes and said, "This is the result of years of fighting the Coopers. This is the result of having to rely on my own centuries-ahead-of-its-time genius, my own hate, to preserve my life long after it should have ended. This is what became of me after I realized that Slytunkhamen, my then partner in crime, was no more than a self-centered egomaniac."

The other four members of the Fiendish Five traded surprised looks, clearly having not known this before. Doctor M, meanwhile, was taken aback. "You... You were a member of the Cooper Gang?"

Clockwerk nodded, surprising his four compatriots again. "Indeed. I served Slytunkhamen the second until that coward betrayed me, left me behind. That is why I above all others know the hate that burns in your heart. The shame that comes from realizing that your so-called friend doesn't respect you. Will NEVER respect you."

Doctor M looked away. Everything Clockwerk said, it made far too much sense.

Clockwerk leaned down, revealing more of his intimidating metal frame. "You and I, Doctor... We are the same..."

Doctor M shivered, snapping out of his internal musings. "I am NOTHING like you!"

Clockwerk just smirked. "Has Conner Cooper ever given you credit for your work?"

"I-I..." Doctor M stammered, "...No."

"Has he ever given you so much as a 'thank you' for your efforts?"

"...Not for a long while..."

"Has he ever treated you like an equal, or a friend?"

"...No."

"Has he ever let you see the Cooper Vault?"

"...No."

"Why? Are you not his comrade?"

"...He says... It's for his family..."

"Really now..." Clockwerk chuckled now. "Family... I've encountered Cooper Gangs in the past that had a strong bond of brotherhood... Or sisterhood, in the case of Henriette Cooper's pirate crew... I'm guessing that there was never really a brotherly bond between the three of you..."

Doctor M had no answer for him.

Clockwerk grinned and continued. "I'm assuming that he learned that ridiculous laser slide move from your own technological talent, yes?"

"...He did."

"Did he ever credit you with inspiring him?"

Doctor M was staring at the floor now, Clockwerk's questions tearing into him. "...No."

Clockwerk grinned savagely. "You are like me. A Cooper has stolen glory that is rightfully yours, Doctor M. You are clearly the most intelligent of the group, and yet you are second class in the gang compared to Conner Cooper."

Doctor M clenched his fists tightly, his head lowered. Memories of every offhand rude remark, every time Conner had stolen the spotlight, or taken an idea of M's and made it his own, ever time Conner took center stage while Doctor M and McSweeny were left in the background, every time Conner had made it seem that he was better than them.

After a long moment, Doctor M said, "What do you want from me?"

"The address," Clockwerk said.

Doctor M shivered softly. He knew exactly what Clockwerk wanted. He hesitated for a long moment.

Clockwerk, sensing his hesitation, nodded slowly. "It's your choice, Doctor. Tell us, and Conner Cooper pays for years of indignities he heaped upon you. Don't tell us, and we go back to business as usual, with us battling you, and you getting no recognition for your role in the Cooper Gang. Either way, we shall simply walk out without doing anything to harm you."

"We ain't? Aww..." Muggshot chuckled. Clockwerk silenced him with a glare, and continued.

"It's win-win for me either way, Doctor M. The question is, whether you'd like to win as well."

After a long moment, Clockwerk and the rest of the Fiendish Five waiting patiently, Doctor M raised his head, and said the words that would seal his fate.

"1069 Brigadier Terrace. In the suburbs. The mailbox is marked 'McGrath.'"

Clockwerk grinned savagely. He spread his wings, all light in the room vanishing. Doctor M gasped, feeling a rush of wind suck the air from his lungs.

When the lights came back on, the Fiendish Five were gone, with no sign at all that they had ever been there.

Doctor M looked around frantically, trying to spot any sign of them. When he saw that they were completely gone, he began to relax a little.

It was then that it finally sank in. It was then that he realized what he had done.

He began to laugh. Slowly at first, but then with increasing mania. "Heheh... Heh. Hehahah! Clockwerk's coming for you, Conner! The apocalypse is coming and he's bringing his four horsemen with him!" He laughed, a high, shrieking laugh. "You deserve it, Conner! You deserve whatever that monster does to you! I have no regrets! You deserve whatever happens to you!" he said, shrieking laughter, tears streaming down his face.

It would be ten years before he could fully convince himself that he did the right thing.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

1069 Brigadier Terrace...

Later...

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Conner pulled the van into the garage of his apartment, sighing wearily. "That couldn't have gone worse if I planned it..." he muttered. He made a note to try and get in touch with Doctor M tomorrow. Maybe if they both slept on it, they could try and work things out...

He walked in the door, and was greeted by a sight that lifted his spirits.

"DADDY!" said a cheerful, happy voice.

Conner, smiling happily, picked up his young son and hugged him as Sly came to greet him. "How's my best boy?"

"I'm glad you're home, Daddy! I saw on the news that something had happened at the museum, and I was worried that you had been caught and..." Sly babbled in the excited way young children will.

Conner chuckled, and put his cap on the boy's head. "I'm fine, Sly. I'm home now, and that's all that matters."

Sly grinned, and hugged his father. "Wha'bout Unca Mickey and Unca Marius?" Sly said, asking about McSweeny and Doctor M.

Conner sighed. "Well... Unfortunately Unca Mickey got caught."

Sly awwed sadly. "Will we be able to visit him?"

Conner winced. "Not unless you want Daddy to risk booking a room in the same jail."

Sly shook his head, burying his face in his father's chest. Conner sighed again. "And as for Unca Marius... Well... Daddy and Unca Marius had a fight, so we're not talking to each other for a bit. I'm hoping we can be friends again sometime though..."

Sly looked up, and was about to say something else, when a knock came at the door.

Sly looked curiously at the door, Conner going on alert. "...Who is it?" he asked after a moment.

"Jehovah's Witnesses," said a voice in an obviously fake falsetto, sing-songy tone.

Worried, Conner set Sly back down, kneeling so that he was looking his son in the eye. "Son, I need you to do me a big favor. I need you to go hide in the closet, and not come out no matter what you hear until I say its okay. Okay?"

"But..." Sly started, starting to get scared.

"Please, Sly..." Conner pleaded, "I need you to be a big boy and do what I say now, okay?"

Sly gulped nervously, and nodded, heading off for the closet, Conner's cap still on his head. Conner slowly walked towards the door, cane in hand. "I'm sorry," he said, "What did you say you were, again?"

"Jehovah's Witnesses!" the cheery falsetto voice said, "Are you aware of the Lord's will?"

Conner frowned, and crouched down, ready to fight.

"Have you confessed your sins?" the voice asked.

Conner felt a familiar chill go through him, his heart sinking. That chill meant only one thing. And he knew immediately how that monster had found him.

"Damn you, Doc... Damn you to hell..." he muttered.

"Are you prepared to meet God, Conner Cooper?" the voice asked, slowly dropping its falsetto. "Because yer about ta meet yer maker!"

The door literally exploded off of its hinges, practically dissolving under the combined force of Panda King's firework explosives. Muggshot was the first through the door, guns blazing. Conner dodged through the blasts, calling on his Cooper heritage. He felt a familiar 'tugging' on the timestream as everything seemed to slow down by his perception. He dodged through the bullets, releasing his 'Thief Time' ability and swatting Muggshot's guns out of his massive hands.

Unfortunately, that left him open for Panda King, the martial artist leaping over Muggshot's shoulder and langing a powerful kick that sent Conner flying across the room, spinning as his shoulder banged off of a chair, hard enough to leave blood. Muggshot and Panda King both charged in, Miz Ruby sauntering up behind. She noticed the blood and grinned, pulling out a voodoo doll. She rubbed the doll in Conner's blood, and whispered a small enchantment. Sir Raleigh hopped up on her shoulder, watching in sadistic amusement, as she moved further into the house, seeing Conner dueling Muggshot and Panda King at the same time, Conner's small size and agility the only thing saving him from the powerful blows of the bruiser and the martial artist.

As Conner grabbed Panda King in a choke hold, Miz Ruby pulled out a needle and jabbed the doll in the shoulder.

A sudden agonizing pain shot through Conner's arm. He screamed, releasing his hold and dropping the cane. Panda King took this time to grab Conner and pound him mercilessly with his massive fist, Muggshot cheering him on, taking over the beating when Panda King tossed him to him. Every time it looked like Conner would get some leverage and escape, Miz Ruby would jab an area on the doll, leaving him convulsing in pain and giving the two bruisers a chance to beat on him some more.

None of them noticed the sobbing, terrified young boy in the nearby closest watching them.

"Enough," boomed Clockwerk as he stormed into the house, his massive frame seeming to absorb the light. Sly had to cover his mouth so as not to cry out in terror from the frightening site of the robotic owl. The others backed away from the massive bird as he loomed over Conner's battered, broken form.

After a moment of watching Conner suffer, Clockwerk began to laugh, a horrid, metallic sound that would haunt Sly's nightmares for the rest of his life. "Oh, how I savor this," the metal demon said, "This last moment, at the end of a Cooper's life... a life about to end at my talons."

Clockwerk lifted Conner up in his razor-sharp talons... and began to squeeze. And Conner began to scream, the sharp edges of the talons slowly cutting through his flesh and fur. Blood streamed from his mouth as Clockwerk killed him, his scream of agony becoming a choked gargling.

"S-Sly..." he managed to choke out before Clock completely closed his talons, Conner's body falling apart in chunks.

The other members of the Fiendish Five, even the stoic Panda King, seemed unnerved by the cruelty of the murder. After a moment, Sir Raleigh coughed.

"Um... Clockwerk?" he said.

Clockwerk blinked, having been savoring his victory, and turned to Sir Raleigh, who reflexively winced under Clockwerk's demonic gaze. "What is it?"

"While I'm all for savoring a long fought victory, our rather... explosive entrance... should have attracted a lot of attention. Might I suggest we complete our other objective and make a hasty retreat?"

Clockwerk seemed to consider for a moment, and nodded. "Yes... Yes. Find the Thievius Raccoonus. It should be around here somewhere..."

The Fiendish Five began to spread out, ransacking everything in the house. Eventually, Muggshot found a safe behind a painting. Sir Raleigh looked at it, and frowned. "It'd take too much time to figure out the combination. Panda King, can you blow off the hinges without destroying the contents?"

Panda King nodded, and wordlessly went to work, setting up firework bombs on the hinges and lock. Everyone stepped back, the blast knocking the door off and sending it to the ground with a thump. Inside was a small, ratty old book, which Sir Raleigh took out and held up triumphantly.

Clockwerk laughed, that chilling, unnerving laugh again. "At long last... The Thievius Raccoonus is mine... The Cooper Legacy is now in my hands... Can you see, Slytunkhamen? I have finally WON!"

"You... You leave that alone!" squeaked a small voice, "That's my daddy's book!"

Everyone turned, seeing Sly running towards them. Clockwerk chuckled cruelly, and lashed out with a wing, swatting Sly and sending him flying across the room, where he hit his head on a table. He whimpered, curling up into a ball and clutching his bleeding head.

"How delightful," the metal monstrosity crowed, "An offspring. Now I can truly finish off the Cooper family forever."

Clockwerk started forward, but to his surprise, Panda King stepped in front of him.

"There is no honor in killing a child!" he thundered, glaring at Clockwerk.

"Get out of my way!" Clockwerk snarled. To his dismay, Miz Ruby seemed to object as well.

"You already kill de fadda! Kill de boy, de bad mojo dat come on you be bad enough to destroy you!" she pleaded.

"You ALL dare defy me?" Clockwerk snarled.

Muggshot shook his head, going over to collect his guns. "Okay den, if poisonal objections won't stops ya (objections which I got too, by the way), den considah this: we got COPS comin'! Dunno about you, but I don't feel up for a shootout, y'dig?"

Clockwerk blinked, and turned up his audio sensors. He cursed inwardly, and turned back to Sly, about to shout a promise to kill him later... when another idea occurred to him. He went over to Sir Raleigh and tore a chunk of pages out of the Thievius Raccoonus, startling Sir Raleigh. He put the chunk into a compartment in his abdomen, and said, "Everyone, tear out a portion of the Thievius and leave this young whelp the binding when you're done."

"Um... Okay boss," Muggshot said, he and the rest going over to claim their chunk of the book. "But why?"

Clockwerk grinned cruelly. "We'll let him live, then. Without his precious, legendary book, he'll never become the thief the rest of his miserable family was. Let him live as a nothing, knowing that he'll never live up to his father's name."

The other members of the Fiendish Five just shrugged at this, and got out of the house as quickly as possible, piling into Muggshot's truck and driving off. Clockwerk turned to Sly, who was staring at the bloody remains of his father. He chuckled viciously, and casually walked out the door.

As he did, Interpol Inspector Diego Alejandro Fox got out of his car, along with his backup. Diego's blood ran cold at the sight of the metallic bird, who simply smirked at him. "You're too late, Inspector. I got to him first," he said, taking to the air as Diego took aim and shouted for him to freeze.

Diego stared after him in confusion. Got to him first? But who could he me... Oh god no...

Diego ran into the house, ignoring the cries from his fellow officers to wait and follow procedure. Inside the house, he found young Sly, tightly clutching his father's cane and hat, as well as the remains of the Thievius Raccoonus, sobbing as he stared at his father's body.

Diego stared at the horror before him, slowly walking towards Sly. Cooper... Even you didn't deserve this... Damned bird...

Sly turned slowly, noticing Diego as he came up behind him. He flinched at first, thinking he was an enemy, but he recognized him as the policeman his father always spoke so well of. "I... I don't know how to fix Daddy..." he said softly, sobbing, his face streaked with tears.

Diego knelt down and hugged the boy tightly, Sly bawling into his coat. Tears flowed freely down Diego's own face, the two of them barely acknowledging the other officers as they came in, gasping at the ruins of Conner Cooper. At the moment, all that mattered to Diego was giving as much comfort as he could to the sobbing young boy who had just lost his father, the last of his family...

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

The next day...

VixTech Maximum Security Prison...

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

McSweeny calmly pumped iron in his cell, his impressive muscles bulging with each rep. He had done jail time before, and knew how to keep himself from getting bored. He had anticipated a long stretch of being alone, having merited a private cell due to the number of people in prison that the Cooper Gang had robbed throughout their career.

It was to his great surprise to see Diego coming down the hallway with a guard.

"Well, if it isn't my least favorite cop. How goes it, fleabag?" McSweeny taunted.

"Cut the crap," Diego said in a tired voice, "I'm just here to deliver news."

McSweeny snorted. "If I want news, I'll watch TV. I'm supposed to get a cable hookup in here soon."

"This you want to hear," he said, tossing the wrecked picture he had been carrying through the bars. McSweeny recognized the bullet-hole riddled picture immediately.

"This is from..." McSweeny said, his voice catching in this throat.

Diego shook his head. "I'm sorry. Conner Cooper is dead. Clockwerk found him and killed him in front of his son, tore apart the Thievius Raccoonus. I'll... spare you the details of just HOW Clockwerk murdered him..."

McSweeny's bravado disappeared completely. A look of utter horror appeared on the walrus's face. "B-Bu... But how? The only people that knew where me and... the... Doc..."

McSweeny slowly sank to a sitting position, a horrified expression on his face. "The Doc... Doctor M... Betrayed Conner to Clockwerk..."

Diego nodded sadly.

McSweeny clutched his chest, tears flowing down his face. One of his best friends was dead, murdered by the demon that had been hunting him for years... and the other friend was a traitor. McSweeny's family, his teammates... They were gone now...

And Conner's son...

"Where... Where's Sly?" McSweeny asked.

"He's in Happy Campers Orphanage," Diego said. "I'd take him in myself, but with Carmelita and her three brothers, I'm stretched as it is. We let Sly keep his father's cane and what was left of the book. Nobody... Nobody had the heart to take it from him as evidence..."

McSweeny nodded. "You... You take care of Sly. You make sure he grows up strong," he said, his voice cracking.

Diego nodded. "I'll make sure he gets the best of care."

McSweeny nodded, glaring at Diego. "...Get out of here. I don't wanna look at any of you right now."

Diego nodded, he and the guard leaving. It was only when their footsteps had faded away that McSweeny allowed himself to start sobbing.

THE END