One Night In Chile

"I swear I need to put you on a goddamn leash."

It was a warm night in San Pedro, Chile. The sun had set hours ago and the cooler air from the coast had lowered the temperature to a comfortable place in the mid seventies. They were on the dry side of the Andes Mountains, so Sully was thankful for the drop in temperature, where it had been in the high eighties earlier when they were planning. It was too close to the desert for his tastes, but work was work. At least there was a good view of the stars at this altitude.

And he meant relative to sea level, not in regards to the roof of Museo Arqueológico Padre le Paige, as Nate called it. Whatever the hell that meant. While it boggled him that the kid knew Latin so well, he supposed it made sense that he was also fluent in Spanish since he'd picked him up in Columbia. It had surprised both him and a local in Peru when Nate had spoken to him in Spanish, even matching the dialect of the area.

But anyway, that particular roof of a gibberish sounding museum was where he stood currently, but minus one pint-sized trouble maker in a pair of converse.

Damn it, where had that kid got off to so fast? It never failed, Sully turned his back for one second and Nate was off gallivanting about and most likely getting into trouble. The kid was convinced he could do everything on his own, but more often than not Sully had to bail him out of something he'd gotten himself into. He needed a bungee leash for the damn kid so he couldn't wander off like a toddler. He just got so distracted by the historical side of the job, whereas Sully just cared about the profit, which resulted in him losing the kid fairly often.

The only thing was he couldn't just go calling for Nate, not when they were in the middle of a job and there were armed guards patrolling the area. That would get them both killed way before anyone stopped to ask questions about why they were scaling the museum roof half past midnight.

As luck would have it, he heard a scuffle and the surprised shout of his protégé around the corner. When he carefully peeked around the wall, his heart almost stopped mid-beat at the sight of the kid with a gun pointed at his face. It was oddly reminiscent of the day he'd taken Nate off the streets, that look of fear plastered on the kid's face, gun once more uselessly trembling in his hand. Only this time Sully felt just as much fear, because he was a lot more attached to the kid than he was a year ago.

He heard the hammer pull back on the gun held by the guard, and without a second thought Sully pulled out his Wess-44 and planted a bullet right in the back of the man's head. He heard Nate squeak in surprise as the man toppled towards the startled boy, blood spattering around him as his old converse scrabbled to get away from the body. Thankfully, no one heard the shot from the silenced pistol but Nate.

Sully gave him a furious look, resisting the urge to chew him out in favor of keeping their cover. When he pointed at the ground right next to himself, Nate meekly scurried over while avoiding eye contact. The look clearly said 'do not leave my side again or you'll wish you'd never been born.' He spoke to Nate the rest of the night in clipped tones, while they worked quick and efficiently now to get the job done. While the kid had tendencies to ignore rules and boundaries Sully usually set, he was smart enough not to wander off for the rest of the job.

"Jesus Christ kid, you almost gave me a damn heart attack!" Sully ranted as soon as they were safely shut away in the hotel.

Nate stared quietly at the floor, still shaken from his brush with death.

"You know your bluff does jack shit when you get that cornered mouse look on your face! It doesn't take much to realize you can't pull the trigger, and when they do, they'll take advantage of that! And you runnin' off when I tell you not to is what started that whole fiasco! Why I have half a mind to-!"

"I'm sorry."

Sullivan blinked, looking at the boy, who still had his eyes averted. "What?"

"I'm sorry I let you down," Nate said softly, his posture thoroughly defeated.

Sully felt his anger deflate as his shoulders dropped, a rough sigh escaping him. "Kid, look at me," he said sternly.

Slowly, the teen picked his head up a fraction, those blue eyes meeting his blankly.

"You didn't let me down," Sully insisted. "Hell, I'm... I'm proud of ya, kid. But I can't be there every time you get into trouble! You scared the shit outta me today cause I thought you were going to get shot, not because you might have botched the job," he explained, watching as those glassy eyes blinked at him hesitantly.

"Kid, I really don't wanna force you, cause I know the gun makes you squirmy, but if you're gonna be my partner you gotta learn to shoot. I can't handle the stress every time you run out of sight, it's gonna put me in an early grave!" he joked, trying to lighten the mood. When it didn't work, the small smile dropped and he sighed, speaking again.

"But really, we gotta get you acquainted with the gun. I won't put you in danger without defense anymore. Otherwise you can..." Sully sighed heavily. "You can be on your way. I can't have it on my hands if somethin' happens because I didn't teach you right," he said gravely.

"No," Nate said in a soft voice, almost panicked. "I'll do it. Whatever it takes," he insisted. To stay with you hung in the air after his sentence, but they weren't quite there yet.

Sullivan stared at his charge and protégé for a long moment, before he nodded, seeing the determination in the kids eyes. "Alright. Shooting range as soon as we get back home. Get some sleep," he said. He hesitated for a moment before clapping a hand on the kid's shoulder. "I am proud of you, Nate. Don't ever think otherwise," he said gruffly, earning a beaming smile from the teen. "Now get your ass to bed!"

A/N: As far as I can remember, Sully never showed in any of the games that he knew Spanish, but correct me if I'm wrong.