Some Kind of Trouble

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This thread may include adult content including violence, strong language or nudity, readers' discretion is advised.

Claire Avalon

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Violet Nowak
Claire Nowak
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Just a little bit of light Carmen/Ivy inspired by the geocities fanfics of yesteryear. Not really attached to anything, just a concept I liked. Mild content warning for implied adult themes.

"Ivy...you're not in some kind of...trouble? Are you?" The thief put on her best responsible adult tone of voice, but the subject matter was uncomfortable nonetheless. Carmen wasn't naive to the fact that, at the end of the day, her favorite nemesis were children. Or at least they had been, and now Ivy was teetering on the brink of womanhood and all it's potential pitfalls that made growing up hard enough, without adding international crime-busting to the mix.

Ivy's brow furrowed with confusion, followed by a rapid flush across her face, "Seriously, Carmen? Just what do you think I get up to when I'm not chasing you? You know what, don't answer that."

Anger was Ivy's characteristic cover for embarrassment.

Carmen sighed in relief, a little more obviously than she had intended. The responsible adult persona reminded her not to leave it at that.

"It wouldn't have lowered my opinion of you, detective. You're growing up...it's not as if I hold you to an inhumanly high standard."

Ivy let out a defiant snort, her expression deadpan, her eyes suddenly very attentive to a patch of fraying carpet by the radiator.

The thief paused, one visible eyebrow raised suspiciously, "You do know that, right? I want you to have a life, and friends, boyfriends..."

"Really?!" quipped the redhead, "And just when do you suggest I do all that? Between college and training and looking after Zack, C5ing to god knows where anytime you feel like a shopping spree at the seven wonders of the world, the mental gymnastics of keeping up with you...my brother...the other detectives. He speaks nine languages, Carmen! And meanwhile I'm compensating by making sure I'm physically fit enough to tumble off of planes, slide down roofs, and swim across the English channel if the occasion calls for it! I'm not sure what your schedule looked like at eighteen, but mine doesn't exactly include a social life."

Carmen perched tentatively on the edge of the teen's bed, bowed head shadowed by the brim of her fedora. "No...at eighteen I didn't have much of a life outside ACME either. But I never wanted to recreate that for you, or for Zack. I guess...I thought you...enjoyed the challenge."

Ivy's features softened a bit, "I never wanted to do anything else. I've wanted to be a detective since I can remember."

"You looked up to your parents," Carmen replied.

"I...I looked up to you, Carmen. Sure, they're the reason I knew about ACME, but the person who inspired me was you."

Carmen looked genuinely surprised, though to be fair, Ivy couldn't always get a read on her sincerity.

"You didn't know that?"

"I did not," Carmen replied dryly.

"It makes sense, you were so busy. You probably barely remember me back then, hanging behind my dad. I'd do anything to visit his office just to see you in the halls."

"I remember you, Ivy," she kept her tone measured.

"You let me have those postcards from your cases, and I kept them in this red scrapbook with any article I could find. I don't know...It was probably nothing but it meant everything to me."

"I remember," Carmen repeated.

Ivy dared to meet her companion's eye, "You do?"

"There weren't a lot of eight-year-olds hanging around ACME. You were hard to miss. I guess I didn't realize I'd made such an impression."

"Well then you left. So I guess that's why they say never meet your heroes."

"I was your age, Ivy. I wasn't trying to be a role model. And I certainly didn't leave ACME with the specific goal of offending you."

Ivy slumped against the footboard, looking older and younger than Carmen had ever noticed all at once. "Of course not, but if someone could have explained that to 3rd grade me that would have been helpful."

"I sincerely hope you don't expect an apology for my career change."

"I suppose an explanation is also out of the question?" Ivy shot back.

"If I had a satisfactory one to give myself, detective, I would gladly share it with you. But in a sense, to understand my choice you'd have to be able to justify it. And I genuinely don't want that for you."

Ivy chuckled, "Haven't you invited me to join VILE on multiple occasions?"

"I've learned my lesson when it comes to recruiting from ACME," her tone was slightly comedic but the memories surrounding it were anything but.

Ivy hesitated, "Can I ask you something?"

"Within reason."

"When you asked me...if I was in trouble...did you think I wouldn't have had anyone else to go to, about something like that, I mean?"

Carmen smiled forlornly, thief and responsible adult personas mingling behind her icy blue eyes, "I suppose it's a delusion I allow myself to engage in: that mutual respect can lead to a degree of trust, if the situation demands it."

"But do you think I would tell you, if something like that happened?"

Carmen looked up, "I would hope so, from a safety standpoint," her voice softened, "I suppose...in my own experience, when you have to make a choice that not everyone will understand, it helps to have someone in your corner with a...questionable...moral compass. Someone in no position to judge."

Ivy nodded, eyes fixed back on the carpet.

"But what are we really talking about here, Ivy? You haven't been to work in two weeks, Zack, the Chief, I can't get a clue out of them."

"What, a girl can't take a break every once in a while?"

"Fine, have your secrets, I did admit that trust is a delusion."

"You know..." Ivy replied, "I had a delusion too. That I'd grow up and join the trainee academy and you'd be this...mentor to me?"

Carmen's voice sounded tight, almost dangerous, "Are you saying I've never taught you anything on the job?"

"You know what I mean."

"Truth be told, Ivy, I'm more good to you now, as a criminal. I wasn't a good person to be around back then."

Ivy was afraid to laugh, "As opposed to your stellar reputation now?"

"I was very angry back then. And I was in a lot of pain. And it scared me, what happened when someone dangerous, someone who wouldn't hesitate to hurt me, could see that pain, and utilize it against me. Against people I cared about. I couldn't stand by and watch them become collateral for my unresolved issues."

"Maelstrom?" Ivy asked, tentatively.

"Among others."

"And are you happy now?"

"Happier."

The vulnerability was contagious, "I rejected someone, and he didn't take it well..."

"Are you okay?" Carmen's concern was genuine.

"I'm supposed to be tough, and I wasn't, because I didn't know I would need to be. I didn't ever think I'd be one of those girls."

"Ivy, we've all been one of those girls."

"Even you?" Ivy felt childish for asking.

"Even me," Carmen stared directly ahead.

"Well now...I'm worried if I end up with someone else, someone unexpected, everyone will think this is why. Like, what I want isn't real because I've been hurt."

"Ah. And what is it you do want?"

Ivy bit her lip, "I guess I'm still figuring that out."

Carmen stood, satisfied with the subtext, "How about I make you a deal? When I figure out an explanation for becoming a thief, I'll tell you, as long as when you find out what you want, you tell me?"

And for reasons she couldn't fathom, Ivy agreed.

"And Ivy...is it safe to say -that kind of trouble- is no longer a concern?"

Ivy blushed again, but this time she chuckled. "Don't worry, there's other kinds of trouble out there for me, Carmen."

"Oh I don't doubt it, detective. See you next crime?"

"You can count on it."

And with that, the thief made her departure without fear of arrest. Cat and mouse games would resume, but that could wait until tomorrow.
 

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