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Things That Make It Warm (Carulia/JuleThief)

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Spending the night with ACME's now most-wanted criminal was not part of Julia Argent's planned night. She was to stop the thief and take her down by ACME's orders, but let her escape as long as she was doing good by her own judgement. The agents were supposed to intercept the super-thief when she got to the Nation Gallery in London, England. A simple mission, however, Julia's missions always had a way of getting out of hand whenever the Crimson Ghost was in question.

In lieu of focusing on the facts that the master thief had done more to help ACME than harm it, the Chief issued the order that ACME would now dedicate all their resources to taking down Carmen Sandiego. Julia Argent looked in the mirror of the airplane bathroom, seeing her face reflecting the guilt and anger and all her other mixed feelings of La Femme Rouge. She hadn't been sleeping well after the Stockholm caper, and even more so after the data breach. This could only mean one thing to Julia now- ACME was Carmen Sandiego's enemy and vice versa. "How could I have been so stupid?" Julia huffed, running a hand through her hair. She took off her ACME issued glasses, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the small blurriness of everything. "Why?" She sighed, putting her glasses back on. "Why did you do it, Carmen?"

- - -

 

"So, Ms. Argent..." Inspector Chase Devineaux held a smug look on his face. "You were wrong about your Carmen Sandiego being a good guy." His heavy accent droned on in her ears as the two walked, reunited as partners in crime-solving when Chase had been reactivated. "How does it feel to be-"

"Please do not say it, sir," Julia whispered. The inspector eyed the woman, seeing the shame in her face and decided it was better to not bring up the topic any further. "I just thought... It seemed like she was good. She always showed it to me that she did this for everyone, to stop crime. The only reason I could see her having to hack our servers would be to get back at us for nearly killing her in Stockholm, Sweden."

"Nearly killing her?" Chase stopped, turning toward Julia. "What do you mean you nearly killed her-"

"Not me, I swear! I had only wanted to talk to her before Chief decided to use me as bait for an ambush. I... she probably hates me now. And she has every right to..." Julia sighed and looked toward the ground, pulling her blazer a little closer in the chilly London night. "From what I heard about what happened, she had barely escaped the clock tower on her glider, but not before Agent Zari hit her with the stun gun, which leads me to our next point. Chief decided to exchange our stun guns for... real ones..."

"Hmm..." Chase hummed as he thought, staring up at the museum. " Perhaps we really have thought about this wrong. Ms. Argent, if you can give me a few reasons as to why you think she is good, then I suppose I shall consider my thoughts on the thief. Nevertheless, she will still be a thief to me. Good or bad."

"Thank you, sir! I will do what I can to change your mind." Julia said as they began walking again. Up the stairs and toward the door, being halted by a night guard.

"ID? We don't allow tourists here this late." His voice was gruff and scratchy, his eyes showing the exhaustion from patrolling long hours.

"We are Interpol. Here for the, uh..." Chase pulled out his badge, words trailing off as he realized he couldn't explain what they were there for.

"What my partner is trying to say is that we work for Interpol and were called in to check on some of your exhibits. There was a possibility that they would be stolen." Julia piped up, taking out her badge as well.

"Interpol, huh? Well, go on in. But nothing can get past our security." He unlocked the door for them and stepped aside. "Have a nice evening."

"Thank you. And to you as well," Julia and Chase walked past the man, entering into the building. "So how shall we do this?"

- - -

 

"La Femme Rouge!" Chase shouted upon spotting the criminal, pointing a finger at her. She was holding a briefcase with the painting Sunflowers by Van Gogh inside. "You will not get away this time!"

"Chase Devineaux, good to see you back on the field," Carmen had one of her signature smirks painted on her face, the end of her trench coat flowing from the wind on the roof. "I was wondering if I would even see you again after what VILE..." She shook her head. "How have things been, Inspector?"

"That is none of your business, you Scarlet Demon. Now hand over the painting and I will consider not arresting you."

"Thanks, but I think I'll stick to stopping VILE rather than getting arrested." She ran off to the other side of the roof, having done this so many times that it came natural to her.

"Carmen Sandiego, I order you to stop!" Julia came up behind her from a door that led to the roof. Her hand was clenched on the handle of the door, knuckles white in anticipation.

"Julia Argent," Julia shivered at the name, not used to the cold tone from her. "I was wondering when we would meet again."

"What happened in Stockholm wasn't supposed to happen-"

"Save it, Jules. I know what happened with your forces and we both know what happened with mine. Your superior made the call so my team did what we did." Carmen huffed and took her time in her next decisions. "So what now, Jules? What happens in this game now? VILE wins again, huh? ACME did what they did. And you work for them."

"Ms.Argent had nothing to do with your capture in Stockholm. She was merely a chess pawn without her own knowledge or consent," Chase had moved closer by now. "If you run, we will chase you and I suggest you do not try running as we have weapons."

"What, your little sleeping toys?" Carmen scoffed, slowly leading herself toward the edge of the building as more agents appeared on the roof. "I've dealt with them before and they haven't killed me yet."

"Put the painting down, hands in the air!" Agent Zari spoke, taking out her gun. Carmen looked toward her, noticing the flash of silver.

"Is that one real...?" Carmen muttered, adrenaline rising.

"Carmen, please just let us have the painting." Julia said, taking a step closer to the thief. "We don't want anyone hurt-"

"Like the last time?" Carmen's voice was full of ice, cold like the snowy caper that ended up with her bedridden for weeks. "I'm not new to people hating me, Jules. Or wanting to harm me, either." With that, Carmen ran the last few feet to the edge of the roof, holding the painting to her chest as she jumped off. Her glider was the only sound to come away from the sound of the agents' footsteps.

"Carmen..." Julia watched the red glider move away, lost in thought until she heard a sudden crack. A pop. A sudden noise and then a cry in the night. Someone had fired their gun and it made a hit.

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"Get up, Carmen. Come on," Player muttered frantically into her ear piece. "You have to get up." He choked back a sob. Despite not having a visual, the scream that came from Carmen and the sudden sound of her tumbling to the ground as her glider went down with her was enough for Player to know something was wrong.

- - -

Julia hurried around, sweating bullets as she ran past streets and peered into alleyways. She asked anyone she passed if they had seen a woman in red but they all denied seeing anything. She hurried around, almost running past another alley when she heard a faint groan. Julia didn't bother with her ACME-issued pen or gun, knowing all too well that the agency wouldn't hesitate to strike Carmen down. Shuffling into the dark alley, Julia took out a small flashlight, turning it on to find crimson staining the walls between the narrow walkway. The scene was a mess of red, both of the thief's coat and of her blood.

"Oh my lord-" Julia bolted toward the half-conscious Carmen, mentally assessing the situation. "Carmen, are you okay?" She asked, taking away the heaped up mess of the glider bit by bit. Carmen's eyes were foggy, but she blinked slowly, taking in what was happening. "Can you hear me?"

"... Jules?" she coughed, looking toward her shoulder. There was a hole through her coat, not to mention through her arm. Blood was gushing from the spot, the crimson shining in the moonlight. "Why are you here?" Carmen closed her eyes, reaching toward her injured arm.

"Don't touch it. I'm going to put pressure on it but I need you to tell me anywhere else that hurts or feels off," Julia said, taking off her blazer. "Do you understand?"

Carmen nodded, groaning as she tried moving her injured arm. Julia started to tear the sleeve of her blazer off, surprising Carmen with her strength. Ripping it further, the agent took a small piece and held it in her hand.

"I need to get your coat off so I can get a better look at it. I don't mean to cause you any pain but it will probably hurt," the shorter woman spoke, putting down the piece of her blazer. She shimmied Carmen out of the trench coat on one side, ignoring the fact that she saw a bunch of high tech tools and instruments inside it, and went to get it off the injured arm when she heard heavy footsteps. She turned off her flashlight and came in close to Carmen to hide her. "Stay quiet." She whispered. Julia reached for her blazer and quickly put it back on to hide the white of her shirt in hopes that she could slip into the shadows with her.

"Ms.Argent? Are you over here?" Chase looked around the street, squinting in the dark. "Ms.Argent please, I was instructed by Chief to do it. The woman is a thief!" He started to walk by their alley before he stopped at a noise. He stepped closer to a trashcan that was against one of the walls upon seeing it move, screaming when a stray cat jumped out of the can. "Tsk. Just a harmless cat..." he muttered and walked on, footsteps leading further away from the two.

"He's gone now," Julia turned her light back on and slowly removed the rest of the coat from Carmen's arm, earning grunts every few seconds. "There. Now that that's off, I'll have to apply the pressure in order to try to stop the bleeding long enough until we get you somewhere where you can get real medical attention. Three, two, one." Julia held the small piece of the blazer that she had ripped previously to the bloody spot in Carmen's shoulder, pressing down.

"Fuck..." Carmen bit down on her lip, trying to direct her attention away from the pain in her arm. "Player can you -shit- hear me?" she looked at the concentration on Julia's face, mulling over the previous capers and reconsidering her judgement of Julia.

"Red! I can hear you! How are you? Are you alright? What happened-"

"Slow down," she chuckled. "I... I was shot by an ACME agent," Julia tensed and her eyes widened. "... but I'm being helped by a friend." Carmen smiled at Julia as she glanced up from her work, causing the secret agent to get a light blush on her cheeks. "Is it possible to rendezvous with ground crew?"

"Afraid not. I have a live feed up and there's ACME agents swarming around your location. They're stopping any nearby vehicles for questioning. By the way, who's your friend?" Carmen could tell by his tones that he was smiling knowingly all the way on his end in Canada.

"Let's just say she's someone we've worked with before." Carmen looked at her shoulder as Julia used the remaining piece of the blazer sleeve to tie the first piece to her arm, securing it from anymore blood loss.

"Your girlfriend, right?" Player laughed. Carmen turned red, looking away from Julia.

"We aren't girlfriends, Player," she muttered."Anyway," she rolled her eyes and spotted the briefcase a few feet away from them. "I got the painting and if you don't see any other VILE operatives in the museum I'll be sending it off with Jules."

"Hmm. Le Chevre is still in the area. I guess his buddy will be with him then, too?"

"Where Le Chevre goes, El Topo follows. It's a good bet. Have Zack and Ivy get back to HQ, I'll find a place to stay." Carmen was about to speak again when Julia spoke up from her work.

"You can come stay with me. At the hotel I'm currently in," Julia wiped her hands on her shirt, suddenly realizing that the blood would most likely not go over well with the staff. "For the first aid, of course. I have proper tools back there." She added hastily when Carmen raised an eyebrow at her.

"Player, I'm going to be staying with Jules tonight. I'll give you updates on my situation later. Going off comm now," she pressed her earring and turned to Julia. "Thank you. For everything you've been doing to help me. Sorry I was such a jerk earlier..."

"You have every right to be upset. Besides, it's the least I can do to help." Julia smiled at her.

- - -

"Nice place. Does ACME foot the bill?" Carmen chuckled as she entered the hotel double. She looked around, seeing a queen size bed and smirked. "Partner?"

"I- oh, no. If you're implying what I think you are, no, I do not have a partner other than for work," Julia closed the door and tried to hide the small bush of red that crept onto her face at the question. "I... find it easier to sleep when there's more room." She busied herself with taking off her now-one-sleeved blazer and cleaning her shirt from the blood that got on it during the earlier fiasco, starting to unbutton the stained cloth.

"I'm sorry, again... about how I was earlier. I just- I realize now that it wasn't your decision to ambush me," Carmen turned to face Julia, stopping what she was about to say when her eyes fell on the shirtless agent. Carmen gaped at the agent's almost bare back, not realizing that her cheeks had turned a deep maroon. "I, uh-" she shook her head, mentally snapping out of the trance.

"Is something wrong?" Julia turned around to face Carmen, causing the ex-VILE operative to turn an even darker shade at the woman's chest. Starting to understand, Julia held a coy smirk on her face as she walked over to the criminal. "It's rude to stare, you know." Her voice was soft and teasing as she lifted the red fedora from the thief, placing it on her own head.

"Right, sorry..." Carmen averted her eyes from the woman, jumping a little as Julia put her hands on the coat.

"Well, we need to tend to your wounds now. Do you mind taking this off?" Julia gestured to the trench coat, removing her hands. "I'm going to go get the first aid kit. Try not to hurt yourself in the process." She went off, leaving Carmen to undress. She did as she was told, struggling at some parts but eventually got stripped down to her stealth suit. In order to get full medical attention, she took off the top layer of the steal suit, leaving her in a sports bra and the pants of the suit. Julia exited the bathroom with the kit in hand, looking down at a paper in her other hand.

"So to start, we'll have to- oh my."

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Hey there! So I know I was planning to write a new chapter a few days after chapter 2 came out but I turned out to be super busy for a while. I was going to work on it this week but then my computer broke and I'm not sure how to fix it (or if it can be fixed at all). Either way, I'm going to try getting multiple chapters out in compensation for the few weeks that its been. I'll try to get an update schedule going but I'd say expect my story won't be updated every couple of days but rather maybe every two weeks(?).

For now, though, I'll try to update on my phone. It's just that I don't usually write on it because AO3 is weird. Anyway, thanks for all your comments and kudos! Means a lot. I'll try getting some chapters out soon. Thanks for being patient