Owen was acting strange. Sure, Owen could be intense even on good days, but he was acting as if he'd lost it or was in the process of losing it. It was... concerning, to say the least.
When Curt finally saw the look on Owen's face, he almost tripped over the chair he'd been sat in. Usually, there was some part of him that was on the edge but he always looked confident, suave, Curt had once said. Now, his eyes were crazed, unfocused.
He didn't like it. No, he really, really did not like it.
"Owen, are you okay? Wh-Where are you going?" he called after him as he walked away.
There was a glance thrown his way. "Getting out, come on, love!"
How his voice could sound so laid back when he looked so wrong was beyond him. It was just going to have to be something he asked Owen about later.
Their movements seemed robotic since they'd done it so much. It was second nature by now. Going through the hallways, taking out guards when needed and grabbing the blueprints were all in a regular day's work. Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long.
Although, Cynthia's call wasn't usually in the routine. Oh, he'd done something hadn't he? What was it now?
The comm cracked with a bad connection. "Mega, stop your tom-fuckery and get me my nuclear weapon blueprints."
If it was anyone else, he would've been snarky. However, Curt quite enjoyed his life at the moment and he didn't want it to end too quickly. Thankfully, he didn't have to answer as Owen took over for him, slinging an arm round him. "Consider it done, Cynthia. You'll have them on the double."
"Is that Owen?" Cynthia asked and Curt could hear the smile in her voice. Sometimes, he wished she would react like that to him.
Then, he felt himself being shoved down harshly. A yelp escaped his mouth as Owen shouted, "Curt, get down!"
That was odd. Oh, it was getting so much weirder. "O--"
Laughing, Cynthia cut him off. "Funny and focused, you know, if you ever want to leave those red coats, the door's open."
Were they flirting? It wouldn't be strange, in fact, it happened a lot, but Curt hadn't been so good at picking it up.
"I believe they call that treason, my dear."
A beat. So, they definitely were. Or, at least he thought they were. Maybe, it might cheer Owen up a bit if he did interject them. He did enjoy teasing Curt about his jealousy.
Faking a sigh, Curt went to hang up. "We've gotta go."
"Well, the door's open!"
Surprisingly, Owen laughed, brushing his knuckled over Curt's cheek. It was subtle, barely noticeable and could easily be passed off as an accident if needed. But Curt knew better and it was another thing that just solidified how strange he had been acting.
Following in Owen's footsteps of being bold, Curt decided to pull out all the stops to get to the bottom of the issue. "Babe, you sure you're okay?"
Nicknames were never things he used a lot, not unless someone specifically asked for it. To use it now, not in the comfort of their own home (or, well, rented hotel room) was a rarity and one Curt knew Owen would not take lightly.
Still, he did not break. "Fine, love."
Owen then reverted back to the playful demeanour he'd had, sending him a wink. It almost gave Curt whiplash. "Besides, shouldn't I be asking you that? You sounded jealous."
The tone was teasing, light. That was what Owen was usually like during missions and Curt couldn't help the fond smile that pulled at his lips. He really tried to keep the grin from his face because he was still concerned and it seemed Owen hadn't realised that yet. However, the urge to play along was too strong.
A teasing smirk graced his features. "And what if I was? What would you do?"
Glancing around, Owen stalked forward like a predator eyeing its prey. It was exhilarating, knowing that they could be spotted, they could be found but they still decided to take that risk.
"Well, I'd have to tell you that I'm--"
There was a bang at the end of the hallway, bringing both of their attention away from the other. Before whoever was coming toward them, they had jumped apart a good distance; enough space between them that it could be considered friendly.
Pulling out their guns, there was hardly any room in Curt's mind to be concerned about Owen's strangeness. There was just enough for him to be conscious of what he was doing and how he could keep Owen safe.
That was the most important thing. Always.
Never before had Owen been more scared in his life. He was constantly alert, watching Curt from his peripheral vision to make sure nothing was going to hurt him. Before, when that guard tried to shoot at them, his heart had spiked with anxiety. Maybe he was a bit harsh but he'd rather him a bit bruised than dead.
Anything was better than the nine years he'd endured--alone. Anything.
So, when Curt tossed the banana on the floor, Owen was much more forceful. This singular moment would determine everything. It would render his seven years of work worth it or useless. This was it. Everything he'd ever worked for.
"Don't leave it there, love," he said, "wouldn't want anyone slipping on it."
"It's a banana peel, Owe," Curt laughed. "If you slip on that, I'd say you have a couple loose screws."
The anger that he'd managed to keep at bay for nine years fired up again and he had to grit his teeth. They grinded together. "Curt, love, it could happen to anyone. Just listen to me, for once."
Uncharacteristically, Curt was silence. When Owen looked over, he was staring straight at him, eyes burning with concern.
Owen had to look away before the fire became too hot and he cleared his throat. "Listen, please."
Never before had Owen gotten properly angry at him. His voice had dropped an octave to that quiet fury he often saved for the most tricky of targets.
Now he was scared. Owen was wrong. Really fucking wrong and it was sending alarm bells ringing in his head.
This wasn't his Owen, but who else could it be? Something had happened. Something so terrible that it had skewed him. He was angrier, bolder and downright terrifying.
Curt couldn't bring it up, not without the risk of bringing something up that may set Owen off again. For now, he had to get out of the facility and then it would be time to interrogate.
He didn't know what he would do when he found out what was causing it, but he knew he had to do something.
They continued on.
"Pass me one of the charges, love," Owen called out to him, motioning.
No, Curt didn't trust him. But the part of him, the part that he listened to more often than his head, screamed at him that this was his partner. His Owen. What would he do?
He passed them the charges.
"What's our record, six minutes?"
A spike of familiarity jolted through him, like he'd said that before. But it couldn't be true, their record was set on the last mission they'd had together.
Owen turned to him. If Curt hadn't had known him as well as he did, maybe he would've said he looked just as playful as usual.
But, no. There was a haunted look in his eyes, like ghosts had come back for revenge.
Instead, Owen smiled. "I don't like that look, yes, six minutes."
Why was he still playing along? It was clearly hurting him, why wasn't he saying anything?
"You love it," Curt shot back.
There was nothing to do, he had to play at Owen's game. It was the only way to play it safe.
"Think we can do it in five?"
Owen looked like he was considering it. "Make it four."
And, despite his problem with Owen, he felt like he could push himself. Take his mind off of everything by just focusing on surviving.
He set the timer to three minutes.
It began ticking.
Just as Owen finished setting the bombs, the door next to him flew open and he backed away, whipping his head back to Curt. Then, another one swing open and men began to slowly step in, forcing them to put their hands in the end.
No words were said but an agreement was made.
Another door opened and the pair made a sprint down the hall way.
All thoughts left his mind as he pushed as hard as he could go. It was exhilarating, it always was and probably always would be. He was an adrenaline junkie through and through.
They didn't take into account that there might have been people waiting for them at the end though and as they were nearing the exit, they were surrounded.
Their hands raised.
Oh, they were so fucked.
But, then, the ground shook beneath them. Those surrounding them were knock to their feet but Curt and Owen managed to balance themselves against each other, pushing heavily into the other to stay upright. A neat trick that a great partnership will give you.
But that was besides the point.
Owen was now staring at him with disbelief in his face. "Curt?"
A flash of fear and guilt. "I lied, I set the timer for three minutes."
Instead of gnawing at his teeth again or lowering his voice, Owen only shook his head, exasperated. They both took off for the stairs.
"Curt Mega, you're going to be the death of me!"
Unlikely, Owen was just as untouchable as he was. And, the only thing that would ever get Owen killed was maybe his inability to dodge attacks. Seriously, the man would just stand there and take it.
They burst out if the facility with only seconds to spare. The heat of the explosion came a little too close for comfort and it barely touched the back of Curt's neck.
It was enough for Owen to grab at his hand and pull him further away, though.
They both doubled over, panting and laughing occasionally. Although, most of the chuckling was from Curt.
Three minutes! Three minutes and they'd gotten a new record.
That was something worth celebration.
But as Curt turned to Owen, ready to wish him a job well done, there was a whimper.
Holding his head, Owen was staring at the floor, his eyes screwed shut. "Owen?"
No, no. Nothing had happened, surely. They were okay, he was okay. This--No, nothing could be happening.
Reaching out, Owen fell into him, now holding back his tears and still keeping his head in his hands. "Tell what's wrong, what's happening?"
There was no answer.
It was sudden when Owen finally went spack in his arms. And his stomach dropped.