Disclaimer: Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher, and all other official Uncharted characters are owned by Naughty Dog studios. Sly Cooper, Carmelita Fox and all other official Sly Cooper characters are owned by Sucker Punch studios.

Edits: Changed the time of day.

Family Ties

1

A lone Jeep slowly made its way across a long winding dirt road that curved around a lush forest, causing a trail of dust to float in its wake. Nathan Drake took a quick glance at the passenger's seat and saw that his precious cargo was still there. He sat in silence, his attention fixed on the road ahead. Only the loud humming of his vehicle prevented the lack of noise from deafening his ears. He picked up his iPhone to check the time and estimated that it would take another hour to reach his destination if he kept up his current pace. He was about to put his phone down when it vibrated indicating an incoming call. Nate swore under his breath already knowing who it was. He wasn't expecting them to notice he was gone so soon. He remembered telling himself he wasn't going to answer it, but knew he had to, he owed them that much at least. He slid his thumb over the screen and switched it to speaker before putting it in the cup holder besides his seat. He cleared his throat before answering:

"Sully! Funny, I was just about to call you." He said with his typical chipper ring.

"Kid. What the hell are you doing?" Nate could hear the gruff voice of his older friend and mentor loud and clear.

"Oh, I thought I would just take a little joy ride. Ya know, to clear the mind and sight see. The English countryside is quite lovely this time of year; you really ought to see it." He blinked in astonishment. Sometimes he surprised even himself how he could joke in such situations.

"Stop bullshitting me." Nate knew that despite Sully's harsh tone, he was more worried than angry.

"Why aren't you following the plan?"

Nate shifted nervously in his cramped seat. The bumpy dirt road didn't offer the most conformable ride. "I...I have to take care of this on my own."

"Seriously? What about the rendezvous? You can't just ditch us like this! We had it all worked out!"

"I just need you to back me up on this one." Nate sighed.

"I'm sorry kid but you know I can't do that, not this time. I know you never asked for any of this, but you messed up when you screwed him over. He's going to be here to collect and I have no idea what he'll do when he finds out his shit isn't here!"

"Well." He nervously chuckled. "I'm sure if you will explain the situation to him everything will be just fine. Heck, just tell him I'm borrowing his stuff for a few and that I'll bring it back once I'm done with it. I mean come on Sully, he seems like a pretty decent guy. A little strange and scruffy looking sure, but a decent guy none the less."

"Listen to yourself! How can you say that! He's not even..."

"I know, I know, alright?" Nate said with such force that it surprised even himself. He rubbed a calloused palm over his five-o-clock shadow and chose his next words carefully. "You know I've only got once chance to get this right." Nate thought he could hear the sound of another voice on the other end of the line; it was feminine and very familiar.

"You know I'm up for playing the hero as much as the next guy. But seriously, I have to go along with your wife. Where apart of your family too you know. We are all in this one together."

"Exactly! That's what I'm afraid! I'm not going to put you or Elena at risk anymore than I already have!"

"If we really gave a damn about the risks do you think we would have come with you in the first place?" He was about to reply when his Jeep started to slow, the engine sputtering its last ounce of life before it came to a stop completely. Nate tried the gas pedal several times but found it did nothing, his ride wasn't going anywhere. What the hell? He thought. His eyes drifted over to the fuel gauge. The pointer hovered over E.

"CRAP!" Nate screamed slamming his fists on the steering wheel causing its horn to sound off. A flock of birds which resided in one of the towering elk trees beside the road scattered from the sound.

"Kid! Say something! What happened?" Sully's voice had the tone of a worried father.

"I'm fine," Nate replied, trying to keep the frustration from his voice. He shook his head, he was positive that he had over half a tank when he left and he knew he hadn't gone nearly the distance required to run out of fuel. He grabbed his phone from the cup holder and stepped outside; as soon as he did so the pungent smell of gasoline stung his nose. Taking a quick look under the car confirmed his suspicion that it wasn't just his bad luck that was screwing him over. There was a rather noticeable hole in the gas tank, which to him could only mean one thing: the cheeky bastard had expected him to make a run for it.

"Well, at least it looks like you won't have to worry about road kill showing up." He held his phone close to his face and slid his handgun out of his familiar holster, making sure its clip was securely in its place.

"How do you figure that?"

"I'm pretty sure he's tailing me. Look... I know I'm being an ass right now and leaving you and Elena high and dry, but I'm asking you to let me do this alone. I've put you guys at risk too many times before and I can't let you guys take the fall for my dumb ass mistakes any longer." He opened his right hand and stared at the ring on his finger. "Just do me a favor, will you? Tell Elena that I love her?"

"Damn it, Nate! Stop being such being such a stubborn fool. Why can't you just..."

Nate never heard him finish. With a look of shame, he cut the connection and headed back to the open door of his Jeep. His gaze drifted across to the passenger side and to its contents once again. He grappled a small satchel and carefully swung it around his shoulder before his gaze shifted to the other object that occupied the seat. It was a long staff that was made of a sturdy wood that he couldn't place. It ended in a strange golden hook-like shape and looked like it could pass for some kind of prop from a low budget-pirate film. Nate grabbed it and headed toward the edge of the road.

He looked at his watch and sighed, something he noted that he seemed to be doing a lot recently. He still had several miles before he reached Williams estate, which meant he would be forced to cut through the woods surrounding the trail in order for him to make up the time he would lose traveling on foot. He looked ahead to the forest before him, it was still dark and there was likely not another soul for miles. In other words, it was a perfect place for an ambush and it quickly occurred to him that it was probably no coincidence that his jeep had run out of gas here. He knew he was most likely walking into a setup but he wouldn't back down, not after knowing what was at stake.

Nate snickered at the absurdity of the situation. "All alone, in a creepy forest with a freak of nature on my ass." He muttered quietly to himself as he often did. "Nothing weird about that, nothing weird about that at all." He slipped between two trees and headed into the forest brush. He was careful not to jostle the precious object in his pack and noticed that despite its size and sturdy make, the curved artifact he was holding was surprisingly light.

He stopped to take a quick look at the map he had folded in his back pocket. Once he determined his course, he quickly made his way west keeping the sun behind him. The mid-summers crimson fireball rested low on the horizon, causing long shadows to stretch across the forest floor. After walking for several minutes, Nate soon found that he was grateful for the shade they provided; despite the chilly morning air, he couldn't tell if the sweat he wiped off his brow was from the heat wave this part of the U.K. was experiencing or knowing that he was being followed. He took another quick glance over his shoulder and had to remind himself that decades of getting into scrapes like these didn't make him paranoid, just cautious; which made the fact that he had no idea where his pursuer was all the more grueling. He made every effort to carefully scan the surrounding trees for anything that might give his stalkers position away, but every time he was sure he caught movement, only shadow filled his view. Well, guess those rumors weren't bullshit. He shook the thought and pressed on, his fast walk turning into a jog.

He was starting to think that perhaps this whole thing was just a result of his re-occurring bad luck and that he was simply over thinking things. He jumped over a protruding tree branch, and quickly changed his mind. He had barely enough time to cry out "Oh crap!" when he realized his foot landed in a small hole.

While the rest of his body wanted to move forward, his foot stayed in place causing him to go flying head first down the small hill that was conveniently in front of him. As he somersaulted out of control Nate did his best to tuck the satchel and cane near his chest with a death grip.

It seemed like forever before he came crashing to a halt as the hill leveled out. Ouch, that hurt! He thought, favoring his arms which still looked black and blue from a previous encounter with his stalker. With a hiss of pain, he stumped to his feet, padded himself down and mentally checked his gear:

Okay, creepy box, check. Cane, good, still here. Somehow the two treasures he held managed to make it out of the tumble unscathed, which left him with only one more thing to check: his gun. Nate swore under his breath as he realized it had fallen out of his hostlers which prompted him to scramble around looking for his missing weapon. He was about to just say to hell with it and continue when a smooth all too familiar voice made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

"Looking for this pal?" Nate slowly turned, looked up toward the source of the voice and knew getting to his destination just got much harder. Crouching on a tree branch several feet above, the inhuman shape of his stalker was silhouetted against the now dark orange sky. Nate had encountered several skilled in the use of making shadow cover, in fact, he often did it himself. But this guy, whatever he was, seemed to be able to blend into the very darkness itself. I gotta figure out how he does that. Nate thought.

The only shapes Nate could clearly make out were a set of hazel colored eyes and a smile that somehow seemed charming despite inch long canines. A large black shape slowly waved behind the dark figure, rising and falling like a puff of coiling smoke. An arm raised from within the shadow's contour, in his hand was Nate's gun.

Well, guess I won't be using that. Nate thought. He met the creatures gaze and fronted his best confident smirk. "Yes actually. Thanks for holding onto it for me. Now would you be so kind and give it back?"

"Well, I would..." The shape replied inhaling a sharp breath. "But I don't think that would be such a good idea." The shadow threw the firearm over his shoulder. Nate heard the distinct splashing sound of something hitting water and guessed his gun had landed in the drink. "You see guns and I don't mix very well, it's kind of a cops and robbers thing."

"Really? So I'm guessing that you and my car didn't mix either?"

"Yeah, sorry about that. I kind of had to find a way to stop you from running off, so I... improvised. It's amazing what a simple rock can do." The shadowed form jumped off his perch causing the branch he occupied to sway slightly. Though his descent brought him only a few feet away, Nate couldn't help but notice he barely made a sound when his boots touched the floor. He crossed his arms and walked slightly to the left so he faced the rising sun, blocking the only way forward.

"Tell you what, I will ask you nicely one last time." He said still displaying his toothy smile. "Why don't you make this easy on yourself? Just give me what's mine, and we can call it a day. I go home happy and you don't have worry about me taking it off you."

Nate shook his head. "You're welcome to try but I need these more than you right now so I think I will just hang onto them for the time being."

"That's funny considering those..." The creature said pointing a gray finger at the satchel and cane Nate was holding. "have been in my family for generations." He flicked his large tail, a display that Nate guessed was a sign of annoyance. "So I think it would be wise to give me back what's rightfully mine."

Nate stood his ground and said nothing. He had to admit to himself that if the situation was reversed and something from his family was taken from him, he would have chased the culprit to the ends of the earth, just like the creature before him had done to him. But unfortunately for his masked pursuer, the situation at hand had too much at stake and Nate would never be able to live with himself if he didn't see this through.

Nate knew all too well that he didn't have the time to take him on, but realized there was also no way he could outrun him either. He slowly walked over to nearby tree and tucked his small bag into a crevice, the creatures gaze followed him like a predator waiting to strike. "Well, then we've got ourselves a problem now don't we?" Nate clenched his hands into fists. "You ready to dance road kill?"

The creature laughed. "Sure but... I remember doing this before. Who won that fight again? I can't quite remember."

Wow, What an ass. Nate thought, chuckling to himself. It's almost like I'm talking to myself.

"Yeah, well it still didn't stop me from getting what I needed. Besides, it's different this time. I've got your toy." Nate indicated the hooked weapon he gripped tightly. He used the leather strap attached to the object to sling it securely over his back. Whatever he did, he knew he couldn't let the fuzzy bastard have it back.

"The cane doesn't make the Cooper pal. I can take you on with or without it."

"Works for me. I've got a schedule to keep and your trash talk is getting old." Nate couldn't help but find it ironic. Never in a million years he would have thought those words would have come out of mouth, but the freak just didn't know when to shut up.

"In that case, as a Cooper and a gentleman." He took off his blue cap and made a bow emphasize his point. "I will make this quick." With that said, the creature launched himself at Nate. Even though he had faced him before, his speed still surprised him. Nate barely had a chance to put his fists up in a fighting stance before his blue-clad opponent was upon him. The creature struck out with a gray fist but Nate blocked the punch easily and was ready for his foe's kick with another block. His opponents attacks certainly had an inhuman grace to them, but it was clear to Nate that unarmed combat wasn't the creature's forte since his strikes seem to lack an experienced form. Without weapons, Nate knew he had an edge in a straight up brawl.

Pushing the black boot aside, Nate went on the offensive with a set of his own punches. The first strike hit air as Nate's adversary easily maneuvered out of the way. After dodging his second punch, the creature crouched low, hugging the ground as he came up and around Nate's side, his palms reached for the cane that was strapped to his back. Nate darted to the side causing his attacker's outstretched fingers to narrowly miss. Without hesitating, the creature crouched low again escaping Nate attempted counter-attack and came up once again, but instead of going for the cane, the creature swiped his hand upwards, fingers spread wide.

Nate had just enough time to sidestep the blow, causing the creatures' fingers to barely graze the side of his face. With his enemy's chest exposed, Nate saw his chance. He rammed his fist into the navy blue cloth of the creatures' hoodie, forcing him to let out a yelp of pain as the air was forced from his lungs. Not wanting to let a good opportunity to go to waste Nate swung hard and smashed his knuckles into the muzzled face of his attacker. The recoil forced the creature to stagger backward, causing his blue cap to land on the forest floor behind him.

"Nice." He said wiping a small trickle of blood of his now busted lip. He picked up his hat, dusted it off and flipped it back between his pointed ears. "You know how to throw a punch, I'll give you that much."

"Ah, so you do bleed red," Nate said shaking the hand he had used to deliver the right hook. {Ow, it feels like I nearly broke my hand!} The creatures face was sturdier than it looked.

"I'm not the only one." His opponent grinned widely. Less than a second later Nate felt a sting of pain on the side of his face as blood trickled down his cheek. So that's why his gloves are missing.

"It's normally not my style, but a master thief should always know how to use what's on hand." The creature said flexing his claw tipped fingers that had left the shallow gashes in Nate's cheek. "I dunno." Nate's opponent taunted as he stroked the ashy gray fur on his chin. "I think those marks actually make your ugly mug more bearable to look at, don't you think?"

"Stupid animal." Nate muttered under his breath.

"Think this is ugly." He said pointing a thumb at his face." Nate carefully paced around the creature looking for an opening but again found none. "At least I don't have the circus calling for me." Nate turned his lips up into a cocky smile of his own.

His adversary's eyes lit up. "The circus. Really? You know, I've always fancied myself quite the trapeze artist. I've even got a name picked out! What do you think of..." The creature's ears fell in disappointment as Nate cut him off.

"Nah, I think you would be better in the freak show. Yeah... right next to the bearded lady."

His opponent's black lips curved up in a suave smile "Well, I do have a certain... effect on the ladies." He said raising his brow in classic smooth guy fashion. A gesture that Nate found disturbingly human.

"But I'm wasting your time again aren't I?"

"I'm glad you noticed." Nate said as he went in for another attack. He tried everything he could think of, but his enemy's inhuman agility allowed him to bob and weave his way out of the way with ease. Unless he could find some way to pin him down, Nate doubted he would be lucky enough to land a solid hit again. Even so, he lashed out with kick aimed at his opponent's gut. Using the momentum from his side-stepped kick, Nate propelled his fist forward into the strongest punch his muscles would allow; only to have his attacker narrowly evade his blow. Nate winced as the creature dug his claws into the flesh of his outstretched arm and used it as leverage to plant the tips of his boots on his shoulders. Nate grunted, expecting to have to bear the full weight of his adversary but was surprised how he seemed to weigh almost nothing. The creature somehow was able to shift his weight away from his heels. With the creatures tail clouding his field of vision Nate suddenly realized what his foe was attempting when he felt a tug on the weapons strap that was slung over his chest.

"Thank you very much!" The bandit said as he gripped the hook-shaped handle that rose above Nate's head and flipped head over tail, to the ground right behind. Nate had no choice but to topple over from all the weight he suddenly found bearing down on his back. This time, it was his turn to gasp for air as he slammed chest first into the forest floor. He quickly rolled to his feet and reached behind him hoping to feel the smooth surface of the thief's signature weapon, but to his dismay, his hand came up empty. Crap.

"Look what I found!" His foe taunted, expertly spinning around the object as if it was an extension of himself. Nate dusted his jeans off and rolled up his sleeves. Even with the creatures weapon back in hand Nate was determined to give him hell. His mocking smile burned into Nate determined gaze. "You know this whole thing would have been a lot easier if you would have simply..."

Nate never let his opponent finish; he lunged for the cane. He was caught off guard but had enough to sense to use his superior reflexes to narrowly avoid Nate's grasping fingers. Nate used the leverage from his missed lunge to swing around and pivot on the ball his foot to keep his opponent within his line of sight. Damn, I forgot how fast the little creep can be.

"Woah, hold up there tiger." He said. "Sorry but there is no way I'm going to let get your ugly monster hands touch my cane again."

"Oh, really?" Nate asked bemused. "We'll see about that. I'm not leaving here without it, that much I know for sure."

"While I can give you props for determination, I think it's time I end this little dance of ours right here and now."

"Big words. You going to back them up?"

His foe simply shot a devious smile his way and drove his cane into the ground. A thick puff of smoke erupted from the bottom of the hooked device blanketing the area in a hazy gray fog.

Nate laughed. "Do you really think this ninja crap is really going..." He stopped short when he realized that the smoke bomb had the desired effect; he couldn't see a damn thing.

That thing comes with a smokescreen, how did I miss that? He expected some kind of snide remark or witty insult from his opponent, but to his surprise, he couldn't hear anything either. So I'm pretty much blind and deaf right now. Nate thought. That's just wonderful. He tried to focus his hearing to detect any sound that might give his foe's position away but was quickly reminded that the creature's stealth skills were far superior to any foe he had faced before when his ears could pick up nothing.

"Why don't you come come and face me like a real man, or whatever it is you call yourself." Nate shouted as his eyes darted to and fro. He wasn't expecting the taunt to be met with a response but he figured he would try it anyways.

The creatures smooth voice rose in laughter from somewhere beyond the smoke. "'Manliness' has nothing to with it pal. Your just mad that I have you right where I want you."

Nate turned in the direction of the voice and out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of a large fluffy looking shape that seemed to float in midair. His tail. A smile crept on his face. He would have laughed at the idea of the extra limb being the creatures demise had it not been such a bizarre situation. With a burst of speed that surprised even himself, Nate launched at the fuzzy appendage, figuring that it would finally give him the leverage he needed to win the fight.

"Gotcha!" Nate said as he emerged from the smokey cloud. "What the..." Nate's confident smirk suddenly dropped to a look of dumbfounded puzzlement as his hands only caught air. His momentum caused him to stumped forward in an awkward half-running motion. Before his mind had time to make sense of what happened, he felt something cold and metallic grasp his leg and realized that the creature had hooked his weapon around his ankle.

"How's this for backing up my words?" The creature said behind Nate as he felt the thief's weapon pull upwards, causing his foot to be dragged out from under him.

"Crap!" Nate shouted as he saw the ground rise up to meet him. Thinking fast, he tucked his head in and rolled with the fall, enabling him to quickly regain his footing. He quickly spun around only to have a brown-golden blur fill his gaze as the creatures cane struck him across the face with a force that betrayed his lithe frame. Completely caught off guard, Nate stumped across the forest floor and into a nearby tree. He used the rough bark of the woody plant to try to stand but found it impossible to stay up thanks to the throbbing pain in his head and the pin-pricks of light that invaded his vision.

"Well, there ya go looks like I win." The creature taunted. "Like I said, you should have saved yourself the trouble and given me what's mine." The creature stood over Nate who realized his foe had grabbed his satchel from its resting place while the stars were clearing from his vision. It disgusted him, knowing the creature was right. He knew that even if he somehow managed to clear his head of the splitting pain, he doubted his aching muscles would allow him to find an opening again.

Nate let out a long sigh and did the only other thing he could think of. He shifted his eyes to meet the creatures. "Please..." He said between tired, gasping breaths. "If I don't get those to Williams on time, someone will die." All sarcasm and cockiness had drained from his voice.

The creature stopped, his wide grin dropped to a serious expression."Sorry, pal. But you lost the chance to play that card when you bashed me upside the head and ripped me off. You really expect me to hand over my cane and that box after making me track you halfway around this bizarre world of yours?"

He didn't have a response for that. He waited a few moments before answering again, the sternness in his voice, held. "I swear... I'm not bullshitting you."

His foe's ears twitched as he placed his gray fingers over his temples and sighed, another strangely human-like expression. "Look, I don't think you are, but I can't have you complicating things any more than you already have. If what you say is true, then I and my lady friend will make sure that won't happen when we give the collector you work for a visit. Besides," His sly fanged smile returned once more. "What kind of gentleman would I be if I didn't return the favor you so graciously bestowed upon me?"

"Favor? Nate asked. "What favor?"

"A little R&R." The thief said as he raised his weapon over his head. "Sleep tight pal."

"No. No, wait!" Nate yelled as he raised his arm to block the incoming strike he knew was coming, but it was already too late. His opponents hook-shaped weapon struck his temple causing Nate's vision to flicker in and out like a strobe light. The last thing Nathan Drake saw before he fell into the silent void of unconscious was a pair of black boots trailed by a bushy ringed tail headed in the direction of the estate.