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1975

"Agent Curt Mega was my only true friend for the longest time," Tatiana's accent had softened over time, but all of her demeanor had, really. It had been fourteen years since she and Curt met, and she gave up being a spy a couple of years ago. She chased down what really mattered to her, family, and spent time with her mother just before she died and Tatiana met her girlfriend. "Many of you, might even say that he and I were more than that." She said, followed by a knowing chuckle. The few people attending the funeral laughed solemnly. Mrs. Mega smiled for the first time in a week. "And we were. At one point, we stopped becoming friends and became family." Tatiana bit her lower lip trying to keep it from trembling. She took a breath and looked over the small group: Susan, Mrs. Mega, Cynthia, Barb and herself. Susan wore an expression that told Tatiana he found it hard to believe the Agent Mega could ever die; Barb was on the verge of exploding into a ball of sobs, everyone could see; but Cynthia, bless her, she kept an emotionless mask. It could've fooled anybody else. "In his deathbed, my friend, my brother and my partner, he asked me to tell you the identity he's always hidden. Not because of espionage, but because of hate and fear." Cynthia shot her a look. Tatiana guessed before that if anyone knew, she would. "Curt was gay, and he loved his partner with all his heart. Now, I tell you this not just because he wanted me to, but because he would want all of us to learn to give everybody a chance. No matter how strange or vain, unprofessional, and absolutely gay they are." All of them smiled and clapped softly at her message-- his values.

As soon as Mrs. Mega approached Tatiana she knew she would cry in her embrace. Her tears touched her, in more ways than one. She remembered when Cynthia contacted her two weeks ago reporting that Curt had been shot in his neck during a mission. Cynthia meant carotid artery, of course, but she sounded so breathless during the call-- she knew she wouldn't be able to say it. Tatiana cried for hours that day. After a few shirt-soaking minutes, Mrs. Mega finally stopped. She put on a brave face and said: "It breaks my heart knowing he'll never know how much I love him for him." Then she went home, exhausted. She was an old woman now. Tatiana wondered if she could even handle the distress this would put on her. Barb turned away, unable to look at the open casket for long, then she cried. A silent one, contrasting her whole demeanor. It was painful to see such a bubbly girl get so sad. She excused herself, her kids were getting antsy. She really didn't want to go, she couldn't face it, but she didn't want to leave. Still, life came at her. Tatiana understood, she had kids herself, and her girlfriend would always complain about their twins missing their "Ex-Spy Mom!". So she smiled, gave the girl a long hug and let her go.

"Damn that fucking kid." Cynthia still had a sharp mouth for an old woman. Tatiana smiled at her. "Even with a terminal illness, he still beat me to the punch." Anguish seeped into her words. "I'm sure he'd rather it be that way, Ma'am." Tatiana responded, and it was genuine. Curt cared for Cynthia, even after leaving the agency. She ignored her. "Getting fucking shot and shit...Dumbass..." Now she couldn't hide it. The deep hurt she felt, it showed on her face. There was no point of hiding, she didn't know why she tried. She'd die in a week because her liver was failing from hemochromatosis. Tatiana couldn't even say she lived fully. Cynthia was mostly alone, except for the company of Susan and Curt. She was married once, a few years after Curt left, but he died in a car crash. Then Curt died. Now, Susan is the only person left, but he's old as well, and he has a family to attend to. She had nothing.

She was alright with being alone, but being left alone-- that takes a toll on someone.

Cynthia left with Susan, Susan greeting goodbye with a soft nod. He didn't have the emotional energy to say anything.

Tatiana left two hours after Cynthia did, just sitting down next to the freshly turned earth of the burial and drinking a bottle of vodka. She couldn't get intoxicated anymore, but she did it for tradition.

"Fuck you, Mega. Next time I see you," She laughed. "I'll say it again."

Chapter Text

2016

Detective Curt Mega was a newbie in the Private Investigator scene and wasn't like the other detectives in Chicago. He wasn't rich or popular or had "I think my spouse is cheating" promo deals like the other PI's. Most importantly, he didn't have any connections. In fact, Curt didn't even have any real friends. The only people he had around him was his assistant Barbs who's on the verge of quitting because he's not paying her enough and Cynthia, his intel woman. Cynthia was really a nurse though, and she had a life of her own. The only reason they ever work together is because they met in college when he was a freshman. Curt didn't really keep many friends, but it felt natural to him. "Jesus fucking Christ, what took you so long?!" Cynthia's voice was clear even with the backdrop of the cafe buzz. "Sorry, Cynthia, traffic was really shit, alright? And why're you always in such a hurry? I'm not on a time limit." Curt said with nothing to offer but his sheepish smile. She turned redder than she was before in the heat. "Listen here, Private Dick." Her tone was as cold as ice. "You might not be, but if you can remember, I'm a nurse. I can't be gone for HOURS at a FUCKING time because god KNOWS when my patient just suddenly has a CARDIAC ARREST and DIE!" She was screaming his head off, but no one else in the vicinity turned to look. It was mostly in his head. She took a breath and Curt spread his arms out on the backrest. It irked Cynthia. Everything about him irked Cynthia. He came to conclusion she not-so-secretly hated him. "Look, the truth is Barbs quit on me. I had to take care of that this morning. I'm sorry I'm late." Cynthia ignored him. "Anyway, here's that file you wanted. It took a while to convince Mrs. Wilson." Curt smiled anyway as he took it from her. "Sweeeeet! D'you read it?" He asked. "What? No! Patient confidentiality and all that." She seemed nonchalant again. Curt wondered if she knew the irony of dealing information with a private investigator about her patients kind of violating that. They stood up together. "Well, we're heading the same way, aren't we?" He grinned as they walked side by side to the hospital.

When they reached the room where she was, Cynthia advised him a few precautions. One strange thing she told him though: "Don't call her Mrs. Wilson. That was her girlfriend's name, and uh, well...she left her. Call her Ms. Slozhno. It's her maiden name." Curt only nodded in response.

Curt was surprised when he came into the room. He knew his clients were old, but he didn't think their mother would be so old. She was in her 80s, and very frail. Aside from the high blood sugar and her history of having multiple strokes, her liver was failing. There was no hope, and her kids had hoped to get their inheritance before that. They were deep in shit. As soon as she turned to look at him, he was met with the bright blue eyes. Her features were Russian, and she had thin but still vibrant red hair. She smiled at him. "Fuck you, Mega." She said, and her voice was soft, but she could hear him. He was not all too surprised. Maybe her children had threatened her or something with a name. "Oh, I see you've heard of me from your children." He replied and approached the bed. Even closer, she could tell how gaunt she had become. She looked like she was hanging on a thread and was waiting for something to make it snap. She chuckled. "You...could say that. You're here about my will?" She went on straight to the point. "Yes, ma'am. They really need it, they're in a lot of debt. They sent me to find out why you wouldn't give it to them 'just a little bit earlier'" She let out a laugh that could be considered a howl. "Well, they're in a hurry, aren't they?" When Curt looked into her eyes, there was no hatred there, no bitterness. There was love and maybe even happiness. "I was waiting for the right time is all. There's some stuff there that might've belonged to you--" She stopped herself. "Your father." She said. "You knew my father?" Curt didn't even know him, and this random lady coincidentally did? "No easier way to say it. I was afraid they'd just sell it as antiques or something. We used to be spies, you know. It'd be a pretty penny." She reminisced. "Well, thank you, ma'am." He replied. "Don't call me that, it's Tatiana."

It was a familiar name. Curt thinks maybe one of his old classmates was called Tatiana, or something?

"Alright, Tatiana. Unfortunately, I have uhh, another lead to go after this afternoon. I hope the best for you, though." He said before gathering his things and getting to leave. "That's alright, Curt. Be careful."

She said it like a dear friend greeting goodbye instead of a stranger.

Curt was surprised with what he found in his share of the will. It was a couple of photos, an old revolver, and a brown leather jacket. It had notes attached. He examined them all at the end of the day in his car. The first photo was a picture of his father and Tatiana, and he looked so much like Curt. Behind it said: "Good memories. 1964" Then the second one was a picture of a woman he'd never seen before. She had a bob with greying hairs, and a look that would intimidate most people. It was captioned: "Cynthia misses you. 1975" He reacted weirdly to the year. It seemed significant, he'd remember to look it up. The third one was the weirdest. It was a picture of burnt things. "Owen lived in one of his compounds. I salvaged only the jacket after the explosion. 1969" He eyed the jacket and then picked it up. It was a size too big of him, and even if it was the correct size he reckons it would be too long on him. Maybe he'll keep it as an antique. Next was the revolver, which he was the most excited about. He checked and it was unloaded, but as he held it, pointing straight towards the windshield, it was perfect. This one he'll use as soon as he can afford some bullets for it.

It was 6:40 PM at this point, and Curt was tired. He was ready to go back to his dingy apartment/office and get drunk until he fell asleep. It was hard without alcohol. College students lived next door because the building was next to the university, and he doesn't know when they would stop partying.

Then his weariness got him into more trouble.

Chapter Text

Owen taught at the local university, located across the museum that made educational activities much more convenient. For the history professor though, it was also his way to calm down. He liked looking at the little fragments of the 50s and 60s. Every time he went he would observe something new, may it be a custom engravement on an old gun or a splotch of blood on the inside of a sleeve. It relaxed him to focus on the grim past, knowing those dangers were done and gone. There were nothing but memories now. He liked that. Owen thinks he could never have survived through those eras. His favorite decade to look at was the Swinging Sixties. He was fascinated with the contrasting themes of the blooming hippie movement and the tensions of the Cold War. He was also grateful for the Stonewall Riots that happened in 1969-- he's sure bisexual men like himself would not have gotten the same rights and freedom now without it.

His fascinations remained undisturbed because of his solitude. He doesn't know how to maintain relationships, as all his exes would say. He seemed distant, most the time. He lived in this perfect vintage world where he remained unreachable. Friends were also exposed to this bad habit, and soon enough, Owen was alone. He was still charming, many knew that. He had a British accent and spoke intelligently, but not without humor. Everyone loved him at one point, still, it didn't last. He didn't really make any of it last.

Owen was just about to head home that night, it was 6:42 PM and his dog would surely miss him by now. He was crossing the street, and it seemed empty for Chicago's standards. Apparently, still not empty enough. The last thing he heard was a painful screech of a late brake and his vision blurring into darkness. Next thing he knew he was at a stranger's house.

"Oh fuck, oh shit, oh fuck! Thank god, you're awake!" A man not much younger than he was, with dark hair and a very, very muscular torso looked down at him with a panicked, glossy look in his eye. "Oh, shit, please don't sue me. I'm sorry I hit you with my car. FUCK. Oh god, if you sue me, please just put me into jail I can't pay for anything. I'm broke and I--" He kept rambling on. Owen observed his mannerisms before speaking. "I'm Owen Carvour." He finally said. The strange, sexy man stopped talking, and held in his breath. "You..you may speak?" Owen was not very sure what to say. It's not everyday you get hit by a car. Well, actually, for Owen, it was the first time. The brunette let out an exhale like he was a deflating balloon. "I'm Detective Curt Mega, and I'm really, really, really sorry I hit you with my car." Owen noticed he was shaking, and concluded that the gloss on his eyes were from crying. The professor was slick with men, and he didn't have any other mode but "slick". So he gingerly touched Curt's hand, still in the air from flailing about earlier and put them down. "What's the damage?" He asked, calmly. It rubbed off on Curt. "My nurse friend came here earlier. She fixed up a few closed fractures and the big cut to your head. She also said you might have a concussion, and that uh, you might experience some neck pain over the week. Fuck, if that brings you any discomfort I am so sorry and I take back that thing about not wanting to get sued, I--" Owen shushed him. For a man that had been in a car accident, he was incredibly unbothered. "I won't sue you, relax." Owen's voice jumped down a key lower to attempt a more soothing tone. Curt flushed. "Okay, but I feel awful." He looked like a lost puppy. "Well, you're taking care of me now, aren't you? You're alright." Owen smiled at him, and he was sure he could see him turn a darker red even in the dim light.

They let the silence take their conversation for a bit, unsure where to go from there. "So you're police?" Owen finally spoke up. Curt's eyes brightened. "Uh, no, actually. I'm a private investigator, I work for myself." His voice cracked at the last syllable and Owen could not pull back his laughter. Curt ended up chuckling with him. "Yeah, I uh, I live and work right next to university actually. It's not much in here but the rent is for a student's budget so it helps me out." He explained, partly to let him know he wasn't so far away than he was before. Owen hummed in response, taking in his surroundings. It was mostly an empty slate. It had one leather couch (the one Owen was currently lying on) a desk, a plastic chair behind it, a few more chairs in front of it, that was it for the office part of it anyway. For food, there was a mini-fridge and a simple stove. There were blinds on the window, but Owen hypothesized that those were for dramatic effects. Not much sun would come in from there, since the windows faced another building. The only thing that lit the room for now was at least a decent looking lamp on the desk. "Really? I teach at the university." He replied. "What do you teach?" Curt was squatting on the floor, a basin with a bloodied rag lay in it. "History. I have a knack for it, as well." Owen suddenly became aware of how he was currently situated with a cute man and that he has not made a physical move since that weird hand touch. It was the concussion. Curt jumped up, suddenly. "Oh! History!" Owen watched him scramble to the space behind his desk and heard some shuffling sounds. "I have a couple of things here, from the 1960s and 70s! They're really cool. You should look at them." Curt returned with three photos, a revolver and a leather jacket. They all had the quality of genuine vintage items. Owen perked up on the couch only to let out a groan as he moved his neck. "You okay?" Curt immediately asked. "I'm fine. Show me that handgun."

It was used, but Owen could tell whoever owned this took care of their weapons diligently. "A Colt Agent." He was pleasantly surprised. The features the new versions have weren't present. "Probably produced in the 50s too. Where'd you get this?" Owen asked with great curiosity. The Colt Agent was named it for a reason, many detectives and spies preferred it as it was both light and easy to conceal. Curt was a detective, but for someone so broke, surely he wouldn't own something like it. "Apparently my father owned it in the 60s. He was a spy." Curt had taken on the giddiness of a fanboy. "This is nice, but unloaded. You have any rounds for this?" He opened up the cylinder of the gun with the excitement of opening a birthday present, but he did it with expertise. "Um, no, sir." He didn't know what compelled him to call him that. Owen just smiled again. "No need to call me that. You're not my student," Curt laughed awkwardly and tried to brush it off. "I can help you with these. Just .38 specials." He remarked. He wouldn't deny he was also trying to impress Curt. Curt was impressed, but also a little shy. "Thanks. You seem to know a lot about these things." Curt remarked, and he would be right. "I collect vintage firearms." Owen was painfully aware how, to some, this might seem a weird and psychotic hobby. "Oh?" Curt mused and Owen thought he was going to think the same. "It's uh...I like looking at the history of them. I've hardly hurt anything." Owen spoke fast, it was his turn to be sheepish. Then Curt showed him the pictures. It was sweet to see them. Curt showed the picture of the red-haired woman and his father after the picture of the black-haired woman. When Owen saw it, he thought the same as Curt first did. "Is that you?" He asked. "No! No, it's uh, apparently my father." Curt gave him the picture to examine closer. "He looks a lot like you." He stated the obvious. "Yeah, but it's nice to see him. I never knew him." They both fell silent at that. Owen wasn't unfamiliar with the feeling, though not completely similar to his situation. Then they got to the third picture and its caption. It was only a picture of some burnt objects but Owen felt like he was looking at artwork-- it made him feel strange. The caption unnerved him; it said his name. "Your father knew an Owen as well?" Owen tried to play it off as a joke but he found it really freaky. Curt did too. "Oh, huh...Weird. Yeah, I guess."

They got to the jacket when Curt seemed to realize it was the perfect fit for Owen. "Oh, you could have this!" Curt handed him a well-made, rustic looking thing. It was a rich color, and fit well on Owen. "You really don't have to, these are valuables." He wasn't doing it to be kind either, it was genuine. These were expensive vintage things. "No, it's alright. It's big on me. It'd just collect dust." He grinned. Owen obliged and thanked him. "Well, that's about it. All the interesting things about me." He was joking, hopefully. "I'm sure that's not true." Curt flushed at his comment. "You should probably get some rest, huh? Well, I could drive you but I think your neck would snap off, honestly." Curt told him. Owen thought the same thing.

Before going to sleep, Curt looked over his cases on his desk. Owen asked him: "Have you ever shot a gun before?" "No." Curt was embarrassed but really didn't need to be. "I could help you, you know."

"Good night, Owen."

"Good night, Curt."

Owen woke up the next morning finding out that Curt slept hunched over on his desk.

Chapter Text

1955

Curt was the more impulsive of the two but weirdly enough, he was never as clumsy as Owen. They each had their own apartments; still, every time Curt was lucky enough to take Owen home he would never leave without at least one broken object. It was sometimes because he was a reckless, explosive drunk; most of the time it was because he was a passionate lover. Owen was a man who knew what he wanted, and would take it (if they had the privacy) in any means possible. He broke Curt's old dinner table once, and he always reasoned: "Well, it was time for you to get a better one anyway!" and Curt did buy a more luxurious, polished wood table that could carry both their weights. Curt was used to patching him up, after missions and after sessions of love-making. He acted like a horny teenager around Curt, and honestly, Curt wouldn't have it any other way.

One night, though they couldn't go through after one particularly nasty injury he put upon himself. Owen was angry; he was angry that he jeopardized the life of a fellow MI6 agent, for the life of Curt. Curt let Owen in, when it came to his work, but it didn't work like that the other way around. When he asked, Owen would sadly look at him, and say that his boss didn't love him as much Cynthia loved him. Curt could probably attest to that-- Cynthia once threatened to replace Curt with Owen, knowing it was pretty illegal. Still, even if he was fearful of his superiors, he was true to his job and his colleagues. All the MI6 agents Curt had the pleasure to meet were skilled, and respected Owen a lot. Owen wasn't perfect, Curt knew that much, but he'd like to think that. He'd like to think that he could save everyone, make the best choice for everyone. He didn't, and he became much more reckless than anyone would be lead to believe. After the botched mission, Owen blamed everybody but himself. He broke a glass, and a few jagged pieces ended up embedded in his arms. It was bleeding quite a bit and Curt couldn't ignore it. He talked harshly as Curt patched him up. "You should've stayed in the sidelines like Brown said..." His speech was slurred, and Curt ignored him, continuing the business of plucking out the glass with forceps. He hissed a few times as they left the inside of his body. "You're not supposed to be more important than my colleagues...You're not supposed to be important at all. What the fuck are they gonna say about me?" He was acting childish, even Curt could say that. "Well, it's done now." He finally spoke up, and that was all he intended to say. "Well, I fucking regret it." Owen slurred through the remark, but it cut deep. Curt bit his lip, trying to focus at the task at hand. "You don't mean that." He couldn't just take it though, he wouldn't allow himself to. Even if they were lovers, they were also spies, professionals. Curt's own ego wouldn't let himself take the blow without returning one. "'Agent Owen Carvour, the MI6 fag who kisses the ass of another stupid, tactless American fag.' Hm? How does that sound, Curt?" He prodded even further, and used a word a Brit who stayed in Britain wouldn't use in that context. Curt finished bandaging the cuts before replying: "Jesus Christ, Owen. What do you want me to do? You say it like I asked you to save my life." His anger built as his sentence progressed. He should've known better than to argue with a drunk. Owen fell silent. "Well, you could've fucking left me there, and I'd be too dead to give a fuck! You could've but you fucking didn't." Curt had never raised his voice like that. He was intoxicated by the power it brought with it. Owen continued to stare at him. "You always think you're better than me, but you're no better than anyone." It came out softer than he intended. He tried to believe what he said, but he couldn't.

"I'm sorry." Owen finally said something, and his voice cracked. Curt noticed how red his eyes had gotten, and couldn't help but bring the man in for a hug. Owen cried in his chest. Curt brought him to their bed and he fell asleep immediately. However, Curt couldn't sleep, and he spent the remaining hours of the night thinking too much about what Owen said.

Was he really so much worse than Owen when it came to their profession? Was he really so stupid? Curt didn't want to believe it, but it wasn't out of the question at all. He wasn't smart like Owen, who knew how all his gadgets worked from their purpose to their science. He wasn't as cultured, he didn't speak as many languages, he wasn't as refined or classy. Curt was impractical, he was reckless and he didn't like to think about the consequences. He wasn't anything like Owen. He loved Owen, but when it came to espionage he could almost fear him. He feared that Owen didn't really love him back, out of everything he was scared of. Owen had said it many times, but, what if Curt wasn't enough for him? He didn't want to lose Owen. He was terrified of the thought. If he were the reason, in case Owen ever left him...

He didn't want to think anymore.

Curt Mega drank until he passed out on the kitchen island.

2016

Curt woke up before Owen did, with a headache and a stiff neck. He admitted that Owen was incredibly attractive; that wasn't even mentioning the sexy British accent he's sure many women would fight for. He got up, with much hesitation from the rest of his body, but got to work with making breakfast. He tried to recall the vague memory he still had of his dream. There was a heated argument between two men, and just an all around feeling of misery. Curt couldn't recognize anyone, and yet, it was familiar. He knew that though dreams were just the equivalent of his brain taking a thought shit, most dreams weren't without motivation. He brought his attention back to the bacon sizzling on the skillet. Cooking for Owen was the least he could do after running him over with his car. It was also one of his more unknown talents; his mother taught him a lot and one of it was being a talented homecook. Everyone who's tasted his work always asked why he didn't become a chef instead, well, the answer's simple: That's boring as hell. Then he got to his pancakes, using a special family recipe. He missed waking up to the smell of this same breakfast, his mom humming a tune downstairs. He'd always wanted to do the same for someone else.

As he finished the last pancake, he heard Owen from across the room: "That smells wonderful." He glanced towards him, offering Owen a smile. He reciprocated, and it was the first time Curt saw him smile. It wasn't toothy and wide like his own, it was soft, wholesome. It looked more like a smirk, but he'd seen him smirk, it wasn't like that. He looked soft and careless and not all the suave professor he met from yesterday.

All this observing and Curt hadn't noticed the bigger picture sooner. Why was he always looking at this man's face? There's no fault in finding your homies attractive, or telling them that. It's just not being blind, but is this normal behavior? Curt had never thought of anyone like this. His mother had always bugged him about his "secret girlfriends" that never really existed. Wait, what if--

'Am I gay?'

After questioning this to himself, the following dining experience turned out to be much more uncomfortable and confusing for Curt.

Chapter Text

Curt was much more awkward today than he had been yesterday. It was the first thing Owen noticed when he came from the kitchen area to the couch to give him a plate. He went away after, opting to sit in his "office chair". Owen didn't know what compelled him but before Curt could position himself, he said: "You aren't gonna sit next to your valued guest?" It was still smooth-sounding, like everything else he did, but it wasn't planned. Owen didn't like not knowing what comes next after a conversation. "Uh, sure." Thankfully, Curt obliged. He was sweating a little bit, and Owen guessed it was from cooking. Owen took the first bite silently, and Curt followed. "This is delicious." The pancake practically melted into his mouth. It wasn't cakey and heavy, it was perfect and light. The savoury of the bacon grease where Curt cooked the batter on complimented the sweetness of the maple syrup. Owen wasn't too great of a cook, so this was a nice change of scene. "Thanks. Special batter, too, and- and..all that." Curt replied, stiffly. Owen wasn't all too determined to find out what was wrong. It wasn't his business. "My nurse friend is supposed to come here in a bit-- check up on you, and all that. She's gonna see if it's alright for you to move now." He ate his breakfast quickly, and Owen guessed quicker than usual since he struggled to swallow between bites. "Great." He finished his own plate and gave it to Curt, with a nod of gratefulness. He put the plates down beside them.

Owen wasn't looking for a relationship, he knew himself well enough to know it'd just fuck things up. Still, he was sick of having his dog as his only companion. "You wanna drop me off at my apartment? It's not too far from here and I suppose I could use the help." He said, not meaning much behind it. Weirdly enough, Curt perked up at this proposal. "Oh, uh, sure! I do owe you." He offered him a toothy smile, and Owen couldn't help but return the gesture. "You still interesting in being taught how to shoot?" Owen knew it was vague, but Curt wasn't too dumb. "Oh, um," He paused. Maybe he was. "Oh! Yeah! Here's my number." He jogged to his desk and grabbed a piece of paper and jotted something down. He handed it to Owen. Just as expected. "Great! I could show you-- oh fuck," He said the last part under his breath. He knew he was forgetting something. Curt picked it up. "My dog. He hasn't been fed since yesterday!" He remembered now. "Oh! Shit, Cynthia'll be here any minute now, after that you're free to go. I'm sorry for keeping you cooped up in here, it's just--" He spoke, rambled, quickly. There was a mix of guilt and embarrassment there and Owen wasn't quite sure why. "Relax. I understand, it's for my own good. Tito's a tough boy, I'm sure he can handle it." He reassured the panicked detective. Curt only nodded in response.

Curt turned his head to the sound of somebody entering through the door. Owen could only see her by moving his eyes. It was a woman a little bit older than both of them, wearing jeans and a white shirt. Her black hair was tied back and she carried a large bag with her. "Owen, this is Cynthia." Curt stood up to greet her and introduce them. "I've met you. I saved your ass from getting any permanent consequences because of our mutual friend's dumbassery. You have yet to meet me though." She said, and she knelt down next to him, looking over the cuts to see if they were healing accordingly. Then she asked some questions, and asked if he could stand up. Owen did, and it felt good to stretch, albeit feeling a little pain when moving his head. She recommended physical therapy, or just some painkillers if he didn't have the time. She was cutthroat for a nurse, and Owen would be alarmed if he wasn't so ignorant in the field of medicine. "Well, it looks like you're alright to walk around. Curt didn't have the sense to look while driving, but luckily, he had the sense to not be speeding. Take it easy, though. Don't do any..." Suddenly, something lights up in Cynthia's eyes as she looked between Curt and Owen. "Any rigorous physical activities." She trailed off, and Owen didn't exactly understand why. She snorted back a laugh and eyed Curt. Curt chuckled mechanically in response. They looked very close and they seemed to know each other too well. "Well, that's good!" Curt clapped together his hands and began to lead (push) Cynthia to the exit. "I'll, uh, take you home in a bit." Choice wording from Curt, Owen noted. "Fuck, um, I mean...Get ready and we'll get going." He said as he walked with Cynthia. She was still giggling.

Owen walked to the bathroom, right next to the entrance door and washed up his face. He was a little bit more scratched up than he thought and felt. However, soon enough his attention turned to the bickering outside.

"What the fuck was that?!" Curt's voice exclaimed.
"I don't know what you--" Cynthia was still speaking between breathless laughter. "Don't bullshit what was that rigorous activity thing?" Curt asked, exasperated. Cynthia guffawed. "Oh, man, yeah. You're not good at hiding crushes!" She prodded even further. "I don't have a crush, I'm straight!"

Both of them went quiet.

Then Cynthia burst out laughing. "CURT! Curt, Curt, Curt!" She said his name in three different tones. "You're a virgin who never has had a girlfriend! You think I'd believe that?"

Cynthia continued to giggle as Curt seemed to stay silent.

Owen noted all of this, smiling involuntarily to himself. He went out of the bathroom, seeing Curt on the couch fidgeting with his fingers. "Hey," Owen was the first to speak. "What was that about out there?" He tried to hold back the grin by biting his bottom lip. "What are you--" Before Curt could ask what he was talking about, he buried his face in his hands. "Please don't tell me you heard what happened back there." He groaned. "I would say 'No, I didn't' but that would be a lie." Owen sat beside him. He doesn't know where all the surge of bravery came from. "Ugh, look, I really am straight. I just, know when to point out that someone's attractive." With a closer look, Owen could tell the man had turned a bright red. "That's alright, me too. I mean, what's wrong with finding your friends cute, right?" It was a genuine and hypothetical statement but Curt still shyly looked away. It suddenly occurred to Owen how Curt might not like the whole idea of not being heterosexual and that he was truly uncomfortable. "I mean, as long as you're alright with shooting a few practice targets with a bisexual man, right?" He tested the waters. It wasn't uncommon for him to meet homophobes, it was a minor inconvenience now. Still, Owen hoped Curt wasn't one. "Oh, what, no! Of course, not. I'm cool with everyone. Love who you love, you know!" He answered quickly; the almost overly supportive statement of a straight man. "Great, so let's go?" Owen said and Curt lead him to his car, where they had a few conversations with Curt's taste in music. Owen noted Queen and Elton John being very prominent.

 

Tito definitely missed Owen, but he wasn't whimpering at least, just a bit more enthusiastic than usual in greeting Owen. He practically jumped into Owen's arms the moment he entered through the door. Owen cooed and brushed his hand through the Rottweiler's short fur. Curt leaned on the doorway, smiling at them both. Owen stood up only to immediately put food into the empty metal bowl, the small water dispenser for the dog remained half full. He almost forgot about Curt. "Come on in!" He invited, and stepped into the house. Owen liked the simplicity of Curt's office but his house was much more luxurious. Beside the entrance was a couple of glass display cabinets. It had rifles from the World War 2 era, pictures from the 60s and 70s, as well as few stranger trinkets like authentic eyeglasses from the 30s, a "How to be a good housewife" booklet from the 40s and a random tie from the 60s. The living room was big and glowed bronze and yellow when Owen turned the lights on. There was a cozy looking fireplace in the center with your usual flat screen TV positioned on top of it. The couch had plenty of throw pillows and even a blanket. There were also, of course, plenty of books. "Wow," Curt complimented as he stood and observed the place in the middle of the room. There was an archway that led to the dining room and kitchen, and to the side was Owen's bedroom. "This is a really nice place." Curt continued, and nervously sat himself down on the couch. "Thanks. Have to admit that's partly because of my parents' fine collection of things." Owen came out again from the kitchen with a bottle of chilled 1929 wine. He poured them each a glass. "You inherited all this?" Curt asked, once again curiously eyeing Owen's historical collection. "Oh, they're alive, I stole most of these." Owen casually confessed, and Curt snapped his head around to face him. Owen was a little amused by this. "What?" Curt ask with wide eyes. "The Carvours are pretty wealthy Brits, and my parents were especially concerned with maintaining that high source of income." Owen paused briefly to take a long sip from his glass. "I wasn't supposed to be teaching in a community college. I was supposed to be a politician-- get on the good side of the Prime Minister like my dear, sweet sister. I was a very rebellious teenager, though." Owen smiled, recalling his angsty years and noticing how Curt listened intently. He barely touched his glass. "I ran away at 17 with a bunch of choice very expensive items and pawned them to get a little bit of a fortune. I moved to my girlfriend's apartment at the time, in Illinois. Now, I'm here: a professor with no friends and definitely no family that wants to associate with him." It was a sad ending, but Owen didn't regret it. He saw all the beatings Emma had gotten to get on the path where she was now. He even tried to convince her to come with him, but she said it was too late for her. She was 11 years older than Owen, and she said it would do her no good to leave now. "I'm sorry." Curt said, and finally drank from his glass. "That's alright. It's been seventeen years since then, and my father, the worse of my parents is as dead as can be." Owen shouldn't be smirking, but he was. Screw that old man. "Well," Curt chuckled. "If it's any consolation, I'm your friend." Owen was touched by the statement, a little bit more than he expected.

"It is." Owen replied and smiled softly.

"To new friends?" Curt raised his glass. Owen clinked his with Curt's then replied: "To us."

Chapter Text

Curt thought the next few days before Owen proposed to take him to a shooting range was going to be uneventful. Business wasn't exactly booming, but at least he'd gotten the money from the Slozhno case. Apparently, Tatiana died only a day after meeting Curt. He was lucky he didn't waste any time. Her kids were a little confused by the outcome, but were happy to give him his part of the inheritance. Curt played around with the unloaded Colt revolver, posing like he'd imagined James Bond would. It got boring, and that's what he was doing before he heard the buzz of the intercom from downstairs. He rarely got calls directed to his office, and when he did they were usually just somebody locked out from their own apartment. He didn't expect much. "Hello?" Still, he answered. "Is this Mega Investigations?" A soft voice asked from the other end of the line. Curt was surprised. This was his second walk-in client. "Uhm, yes! Is this a walk-in appointment?" He inquired, and he heard something like shuffling before getting a reply: "Yes, is that alright?" Curt already pushed the button to let her in. "Of course, it should be open now. You want me to come get you?" He looked at the state of his office. It was alright. It looked as shabby as always. "No, I'll go there."

A tall, brown-skinned woman walked in Curt's office. She wore a large sun hat with a dark, expensive-looking pair of sunglasses that hid her eyes, as she took them off one by one Curt started to recognize her. "Hello, Ma'am." He started with it and gestured to a chair for her to sit on. She surely noticed it was plastic but still sat without complaint. "What can I do for you?" He asked, internally feeling pretty excited. "My name's Mariah Walsh," She stated, as if to let him know she should be recognized. He already guessed that much though. "You're that famous Broadway star, right?" He got the clue and indulged her. "Yes, and I need help with my husband, Baron Walsh. He's acting pretty strange." She said, fiddling her thumbs. Curt already saw it as your standard cheating spouse case. Pretty easy, but he was grateful for the big name tied to it. "Really? What do you suspect, Mrs. Walsh?" He played dumb. "He's cheating on me." She said with an anger, and Curt internally rolled his eyes. "I need evidence though, because my husband is much more...respected than me. No one would believe me on just my word." Her sadness came through in her speech. Curt doesn't keep up with showbiz gossip but if he could guess, she seemed like she'd gone through a scandal of the sort. "Of course, but why'd you hire a small P.I like me? Not to shut you down, but it's a bit strange." It wasn't something he needed to ask, but he was wondering. "I wanted it to look like it was leaked by somebody. I can't have big investigator do that for me, and also, I can't endorse your name." She knew that if she asked any respectable P.I they'd refuse. Curt was very broke though, and didn't really care. "Of course. That's alright. I expect that I'll be paid handsomely?" Curt hoped so, because he wasn't that easy. "Yes, but I need it quick. I'm losing jobs fast." Curt finally noticed how tired she actually looked. Her blonde-dyed hair was messier than actress standards, and the makeup failed to completely cover the dark circles under her eyes. Curt had no sympathy for failing celebrities, but he did have sympathy for normal, distressed people. He couldn't imagine the pressure on her. "I'll get it done in a week, ma'am, that I can promise you." For what looks like the first time in a while, she smiled. She believed in him (out of desperation) and he believed it was an open and shut case.

--

Cynthia brought a bottle of Jack Daniel's and an old vintage Zippo that she had no use for anymore, since she quit smoking a few months ago. She didn't know how she did it, because everything about her life is stressful. Still, she managed, and she remembers quite clearly how happy Curt was when she did. He even made her dinner, like how he used to when she used to ace all her tests in university. He greeted her the same way now whenever they celebrated: by hugging her as she came in. She hugged back weakly and prayed to God he didn't think that it was a sign she didn't want it. She was just exhausted. When he texted her about his new big case yesterday though, she knew she needed to set that aside to spend her day off with him and Owen. She didn't want to have to third-wheel, so she brought along a friend she could introduce. "Curt, Owen, this is Susan. She's my co-worker at the hospital." She introduced her in the same deadpan expression she always had. It wasn't like it was Cynthia's decision to have a resting bitch face (Or an active bitch face. Every mood bitch face). Susan shook hands with both of them, and they started to get along pretty well. Owen and Susan talked about men, something Cynthia and her question mark of a sexuality was tired of. Curt departed from their group and went to Cynthia. "You alright?" He offered her a refill of her glass and she accepted. She needed all she could get. "Yeah. Just, tired." She replied, more truthful than she'd been with him in years.

Curt and Cynthia met when Curt accidentally splashed coffee on her white shirt. Cynthia yelled at him and Curt, the sweetheart that he was, asked if he could make it up to her somehow. Cynthia was in a group of bitches she desperately wanted to impress. See, she was a very smart girl and an accomplished student. By default, she hardly dated anyone because really she didn't want to and people only approached her for help on their academics. Still, she used to care about her reputation and she didn't want to be a shut in nerd like her siblings, who were reaching 30 and were still virgins. So she told him to fuck off and go annoy someone else, which made the girls next to her giggle teasingly. Curt's expression turned sour and he walked away. What he didn't know, then, was that Cynthia was exceptional at gathering information. Soon enough, she found his dorm and apologized, bringing a half empty bottle of whisky they then shared. They got tipsy and bonded that night, laughing about gross jokes her "friends" would think were immature. A few weeks later, it was Curt who asked her why she still hung out with those dumbasses and it was the first time in her life she realized she could be impressive without having to impress anyone. So, she worked hard at it.

It hurt their friendship how she became a shut in to study as hard as she did for her midterms and finals. Still, Curt remained supportive and Cynthia was grateful, but she wasn't great at showing it. Cynthia has this thing called antisocial personality disorder, but that was just fancy talk for being a diagnosed sociopath. It had been milder in her younger years but as she grew up she found herself being more and more careless with personal relationships. She wasn't a virgin at 30, unlike her siblings, but that same guy later broke up with her because she cheated on him. No one knows about this, and no one knows about her mental health. It didn't really strike her as something important to tell people. Her mother, who was with her when she was diagnosed, had always found it ironic that she went into a job concerning caring for people when she cared so little in general. It wasn't about her clients, though, it was about how good she was it. It didn't hurt that her clients also thought she was pretty kind, even if she really doesn't intend to be.

Curt and Cynthia sat together like that in silence, and he chimed in with Susan and Owen's conversation whenever he could. They laughed, and Cynthia chuckled with them just to not stick out so much.

Cynthia looked at Curt, how he smiled. She had no doubt he thought badly of her, most everyone who's ever known her as long did. That's why Curt was the only who hadn't left her behind. She wished she could understand what he felt, but sometimes she did feel like she owed him at least her company, rarely but it was there.

She noticed how much Owen was staring at Curt. Even when speaking to Susan, he would glance at him every once in a while. It was pretty cute. Susan seemed to see it too, because when they caught each other's gaze they shared a knowing smirk. Owen was about to reach for the whiskey bottle when Curt took ahold of it first without looking. Their hands touch and though Owen laughed it off, Curt went red and looked away. She'd never seen him like this. It was a good change. Even if she would never be really sure if he felt the things she think he does, she wishes all the happiness to him. She then clinked on her glass by flicking her nails against it. "I'd like to propose a toast," She said, and all of them turned their heads to her. "To Curt and his career that hopefully won't fail!" She smiled as she raised her glass; they mimicked her and laughed. Curt offered her a grin to show his gratefulness.

--

After the small get-together, Susan and Cynthia had to leave early because their shift tomorrow was pretty early. It was already 8PM when they left, but Owen opted to stay. "Don't you have class tomorrow?" Curt asked as Owen plopped himself back on the couch. "All in the afternoon. I can afford to sleep in a bit tomorrow." He replied with a crooked grin. 'Still adorable.......but like heterosexually adorable.' Said Curt's inner monologue. Instead of drinking and talking any more they had, Curt reviewed his case files on the table. "Hey," Owen stood up and looked down at them. "That's the case?" He gestured towards it and grabbed a chair to sit beside Curt. "Yep, just a cheating husband thing. Pretty easy for a large sum of money." Curt shuffled a few of the pages he'd yet to look at to Owen. He slipped on a pair of reading glasses and scanned the paper. Curt indulged himself and glanced at Owen's face with the glasses on. It complimented him. Everything complimented him. "Okay, odd." He remarked and Curt pretended only to look up when he said it. "What's up?" Owen looked at it again. "Did you print these by yourself?" He made sure, before commenting. "Yeah..Yesterday I got a little too excited with the last location Mariah gave me and asked how many nights Mr. Walsh stayed there. Apparently, just one night. So I inquired with other nearby hotels-- if he spent a night there-- no such luck until I called--" Owen cut him off: "Ivanov Towers." Curt nodded. "Why would he and his mistress need to go to another hotel much further away than the first one only to have sex?" Owen scrunched his eyebrows while thinking, and once again, Curt couldn't help but focus on that. He only stopped when Owen looked up at him for a response. "Maybe they wanted to make sure Mariah or anyone else wouldn't catch them?" It was good guess for something he pulled out of his ass. "Maybe," Owen considered it, but to him it still seemed a little silly. "Very expensive hotels to spend only one night at, though." He trailed off. "You're going to these hotels and ask around tomorrow, right?" Owen asked before checking the time. It was already 9:16PM. They'd spent a little bit more time just looking for clues for his next whereabout than expected. "Yep. In the morning." Curt helped him gather his things, already seeing he was getting ready to leave. "5PM tomorrow, alright? You'll pick me up?" Owen reminded him about their shooting range visit and Curt couldn't push back the excited grin. "Of course. I won't forget." Owen hugged him and they both walked to the door. Was Owen always so touchy with everybody? What was going on? Curt's palms turned clammy.

"See you, love." Owen winked at him and he walked out the door.

Five o'clock couldn't come soon enough.

Chapter Text

Curt woke up uncharacteristically early. He squinted at the digital clock that lay on his desk, a few feet from the couch where he slept on. 8:24 AM. If it were any other day he'd roll over and go back to sleep, but today was different. Today he had lots of things to do. He was busy in his own sense of the word, and he was pretty proud of that. The first place he needed to check out was Ruby Hotel, where Mariah confirmed she knew that's where he was last. Next was Ivanov Towers, and ask around. Curt wasn't really gonna do much, just ask for who the mistress could be if they made the mistake of booking with her name or maybe check with any employees what their behavior was like to back Mariah's case. It's been two years since Curt's first case, and many of those were these relationship problem cases. It was easy, and he was pretty much used to it by now. He took a shower, that was mostly consisted of him singing rather than actually cleaning himself, and ate. After all that it was barely 9AM and for once he felt like he got his shit together.

Ruby Hotel was a large hotel, but it wasn't tall like most places in Chicago. It was wide, and was very old. The lobby, Curt observed, was creepy as hell. They took their name seriously, and the walls were painted a velvet red that could be seen as elegant, but also could be seen as that scene from The Shining. In Curt's weird ass thoughts, it registered as the latter. It didn't help that the vicinity was lit up with an eerie but bright yellow light from the high chandeliers and that the walls were decorated with plenty of old pictures. Curt shook off the feeling and walked up to the receptionist, a pretty blonde woman. "Welcome to the Ruby Hotel, Sir. How may we help you?" She spoke with a Russian accent. Her blue eyes should've been beautiful, but Curt was just even more uneased with how blue they were. Maybe this hotel really was cursed or something because he did not feel good about what he was getting into. "Uh, hello. I'm just here to inquire about one of your guests?" He said, and saw the man behind her go on the computer, ready to type. "Of course, Sir. What would their name be?" Curt glanced at her name tag. Natalia seems to be trustworthy enough. He needed to calm down. "A Mr. Baron Walsh?" He heard the boy speedily type on the keyboard. Natalia walked next to him and looked at the search results. "Yes, sir, he was here last Monday." She reported and Curt wrote it down, just in case it needed to be used by Mariah's lawyer or something. Law and trials were always so different from investigations. "Was he with anybody?" He asked. "No, sir." The boy on the computer answered for her. He seemed to know a bit more than Natalia. Curt found this strange. "Did you notice anyone else asking about his room number?" Okay, maybe this one would be a little harder. That's alright. That's more fun. "No, sir. He was only here for a day." That, Curt already knew. "May I see your security camera feed from that Monday?" Maybe the mistress just went in and already knew his room. It was a somewhat a stretch, since the woman (or man, he didn't know anymore) should be very familiar with the hotel to have went up to that specific room and not asked the receptionist. The cameras were always a safe bet. Natalia and the younger boy looked at each other, and she nodded at him. Natalia went out of the booth and led him to the security room. "Is there anyone very close or known to the hotel owners?" Curt had to cover all bases. "Well, there would only be Mr. Johnson, sir." She answered and Curt diligently jotted that down. "What's his relation to the hotel?" Natalia looked at him, a little lost. "He's the owner's uncle. I'm sorry, sir, I didn't quite catch your name a while ago." She only said that to make him say something. "I'm a detective. My client suspects something of her husband." That's all he wanted to say. He was still left feeling quite uneasy from the environment.

They reached the security room and Natalia unlocked the door. Inside, a fat security guard woke up and pretended to be working. "Ian," She greeted with an irritated, forced smile. They bickered a little bit in Russian. Then she turned again to Curt and let him see the feed. He knew how to operate these things, not from a case, but because he used to work as a security guard at a mall. It came in handy.

He paused when Baron checked in at 5AM and looked at the man. It was definitely him, and it all casual as he went up to go to his room using the elevator. Nothing else of note happened throughout the day. The women who came in were women with kids, and high-class elderly women who needed a place to rest their feet. Curt wondered if the woman he was looking for was already in the building, before 4AM when he started to give a crap and actually watch. So he went back until 12AM, to no avail. Not many people checked in. Just some guests already checked in going out the lobby to smoke. So he fast forward again to when Baron was supposed to leave. There was nothing there either. Weird. He went backwards again, just a little bit, and saw him.

Except he wasn't going out from the elevator, he went down from the stairs and left through the side exit where the joint restaurant was located. Curt needed to look for him for a few minutes there, and Baron seemed to be doing his walk of shame as discreetly as possible. Only people with the sharpest eyes could've spotted that.

It complicated things though, because he still didn't know who Baron's mistress was. His only hunch now was that whoever she was was already in the building. "Can we get a snapshot of that and get it printed?" Curt pointed to the paused frame of Baron's exit. Ian, the security guy nodded and started getting to work. Then he turned to Natalia. "Can you print me a copy of all the guests who checked in last Monday?" He asked and tipped her a couple of bucks for her trouble. She nodded and went outside.

Curt got both the picture and the list. Now, all he needed to do was get completely and utterly confused.

Curt went to get lunch in a cafe across the scary looking hotel and looked everything over. First, he looked at the list. He was right about no young women checking in the hotel on Monday, mostly families. Actually, no names stuck out except Baron Walsh's and this other guy that had 'unknown' on his check-out time. He barely stayed 6 hours in his room before presumably checking out. As for the picture, the only thing that struck him as strange was the tiny peek of a duffel bag Baron was carrying. He didn't have that when he entered. Curt finished his food and went to Ivanov Towers next

Ivanov Towers was mostly uneventful, and didn't give him any more questions that Ruby Hotel didn't already ask. Once again, Baron spent a relatively short time to stay at a grand hotel. This time, Curt thought to check the security feed at the hallway where Baron's room would be. Finally, Curt saw something that was actually an answer-- a clue. Baron was seen, talking to a man in a suit, side by side. The man wore a fedora and had facial hair that made it pretty impossible for Curt to even attempt lip-reading. Still, it was something, and all Curt needed to know was to find out where'd they meet next. It would help to know him, but it occurred to Curt how damn near impossible that'd be with how Baron was playing it. He was smart about how he planned anything, and Curt needed to catch up.

--

"Someone's been asking about you at Ivanov Towers." A voice Baron had become accustomed to reported to him in Russian.
"Who?" Baron replied, speaking in German. He knew he'd understand. That was no barrier. "I'm sending over a picture right now." He replied, once again in Russian.
A picture of a dark haired man with a thick and heavy stature was sent to Baron from an unknown number. "Thanks."

--

It's an hour until five and Curt has been anxious about going to the shooting range with Owen for way longer than that. Curt has always taken care of his hair, but now he's really put effort into it. It was structured, but also soft, but neat, but also messy, suave, but charming...Only Curt Mega could know about these things. He tried out a couple of things for clothes. He didn't have the finesse like Owen did when it came to that department. In the end, he opted to wear a simple white long-sleeved polo and a pair of grey tailored slacks. Was this trying too hard? No, right? I mean, Owen dresses up more than him and way more formal. He pulled it off, though. Curt hopped in his car and started the drive to Owen's apartment at 4:30, he was getting very impatient. My god, was Curt's social life really so fucked he got so excited meeting with friends?

Curt didn't park next to Owen's building though, just so Owen wouldn't notice how weird Curt was being. Owen was obviously not there yet, it was still 4:50 and Owen got out at 5. Curt took the time to examine the Colt revolver that practically fell into his lap. He guessed he should be grateful to Tatiana. Without her inheritance to him, he and Owen would not have much common ground at the beginning of their relationship. "Hey," A muffled voice and a knock on his car window startled Curt. It registered slowly that the voice and the laugh that followed was Owen's. Curt unlocked the door and let him in the passenger seat. "Sorry to scare you." Was the first thing he said, and Curt would never get sick of that stupid posh accent of his. Owen was wearing a black button-up underneath the leather jacket Curt had given him. "No, it's alright. Just a little on edge." He admitted. "Well, it's not good to shoot when you're so stiff, Curt!" Owen laughed and put a hand to his shoulder, performing a sort of one-handed massage on him. (Speaking of getting stiff, amirite?) Curt didn't know how to react at first, but didn't want it to be awkward, so he melted into it. He silently confesses that even if there weren't any consequences he'd still lean into the touch. It's what he deserved. Owen abruptly ended the contact and brought out a box with a miniature bow on top. "I got you something." He handed it to Curt and he opened it, curious. Inside were a box of bullets. "Thought you might need it." Owen winked at him. Curt was honestly touched. "Thanks!" He grinned.

The drive to the shooting range wasn't special. They talked, and Owen caught up with him about his case. He was genuinely interested. It was a nice change of pace from Cynthia's apathetic way of "listening". Owen also told him stories, like how his coworker Henry approached him about a musical he was writing. They laughed about it, and Curt realizes what Owen's smile does to him. He didn't want to dig too deep for now, he just knew it was there.

Owen seemed familiar with the owner of the place. She was a tall, curvy woman who could've passed for a model in another life. Her prominent scars threw her seemingly untainted aura off though. She was tough. She lead them to the actual shooting range where she instructed Curt the basics and the precautions. They both put on ear muffs and Owen let him try a few shots on his own while he "warmed up" by himself. Curt's shots was way off, as expected for a beginner, and he didn't quite prepare for the recoil. There wasn't much, as small revolvers like Colt Agent were designed for that, but it was still present. Aside from all the technicalities, Curt was just bad at approximating stuff. Owen's was much better. He held a bigger handgun, with more recoil and still easily hit the targets right next to the X on the head in two shots. Owen paused to take a look at Curt's work, and Curt had stopped trying a while ago, resorting to watching Owen instead. "Hey, we're supposed to be training you, Detective." Owen said and put down his gun. "May I get close to you? This might be a little weird." He was polite as he approached Curt. Curt nodded and readjusted his sweaty grip on the revolver as Owen went around him and readjusted his stance. He could feel Owen's front to his back and his left foot being brought forward while he followed Owen's right foot to the back. Owen's breath was hot on his neck. He had to get real close for Curt to hear him through his ear muffs. "Okay, now bend your knees and..bend over a little." Owen pushed Curt's back forward. Curt kept himself from shivering. "Your hand is too high, calm down." Owen guided his arms down. Curt starts to shake. "Hey, hey," Owen thought he was helping. "Relax, alright?" Owen tried to kept his own hands steady and it worked. "Shoot." Curt didn't need to told twice. It hit the left-hand side 9 next to the central target on the chest. Curt was amazed. "Now, you do it." Owen let go of him and before going back to his own window, he watched Curt. Curt shot an 8 then a 9 again, consecutively. "Would you look at that?" Owen chuckled and shot his own 9s. "You're a natural."

 

As Curt watched Owen wave goodbye and enter his apartment, he couldn't help but glare at the bulge on his pants. It was 7 now and they'd eaten and either Owen hasn't really seen it or he just didn't want to mention it. Curt knew damn well it was probably the latter. It had been hours since Owen really, actually, literally told him to bend over. It drove him crazy how Owen could just do that.

Okay,

So Detective Curt Mega is definitely gay.

Chapter Text

Owen was surprised when Curt said yes to his invitation of reviewing the case files at his apartment. When asked, Curt only said that he was good help with the details. Owen wondered if he was being too touchy with Curt yesterday, but he brushed it off whenever the thought arose. It didn't matter. Owen was touchy and flirty with everyone, and Curt said it himself: He was straight.

Curt was different today, again. He acted the same way he did after the day he ran him over, but a little less uncertain and a bunch more awkward. They worked side by side, with Owen working on checking essays and Curt checking on the facts he had from the latest development of his case. Apparently, Curt called another hotel not far from Ivanov Towers that had Baron Walsh's name booked. He hadn't gone, yet and there was no reason for Curt to visit the hotel unless to cause suspicion. "It...doesn't make any sense." Curt finally said, after a few minutes of dramatic groaning. Owen thought it had been to catch his attention, but it was actually genuine, and he wasn't just a very dramatic person. Curt put down a picture and a list, and rubbed his forehead. Owen moved over to see what was bothering him. "What's wrong?" He couldn't see anything just by sparing a glance. It was a snapshot of two men and a list of hotel guests. "That's Baron Walsh," Curt pointed at the man behind the shadowy mystery person. He could barely be seen, but Owen could identify his traits from Mariah's written description and photo. "A man?" Was all Owen said, but Curt understood clearly. He was surprised too that Baron was having an affair with a man. "I thought so too, but no one in the list for the guests in Ruby matched the appearance of this guy. Most the men who checked in in the whole building weren't ever young enough, or single enough, or hell, adult enough to be that guy." Owen looked once again at their "suspect". Curt continued. "So, why would Baron go to Ruby if not for his side-thing?" He was repeating what both of them already were wondering. "Maybe you hadn't checked with the Ruby Hotel thoroughly enough? Something slipped by you while you were viewing the cameras?" It was pretty boring to watch people go in and out of a lobby, maybe he got sick of it. "See, that's what I thought too, but I checked with them again this morning while you were at your class and spent all the time until 1PM to see if I missed anything. I even spoke with the maid who cleaned his room!" Curt was a meticulous worker, Owen realized. He had a sort of cleverness you had to really look for, too. "What'd the maid say?" It was the obvious question. "Well," Curt's expression only grew more confused. "She told he barely touched his bed. She guessed maybe he was there for two to three hours, max." It made less and less sense the more Curt answered his questions. Owen decided to inquire something that Curt would only need to confirm. "So, you asked around until you found his next booking, right?" He said, and Curt nodded. Owen picked up Curt's notes. "Ruby Hotel, Ivanov Towers and Starlight Views. Wait," Owen grabbed his laptop in a rush and looked up the owner of each. All of them were established by one man. "Marcus Ivanov. The rich businessman established all of these places. That's what they have in common." He announced, and Curt looked at his laptop. "What's the connection to my case?"

Owen got a sick feeling in his stomach. "I," He gathered himself. "I don't know. It's a lead, though, isn't it?" He bluffed, and Curt took the bait, hesitantly. "Sure." He trailed off, unsure and looking at Owen weirdly. Owen turned his attention back to the last few essay papers he had to read through. Curt looked stressed again, obviously his theories didn't help anyone. He finished one last paper, with only two left and put them down. "Maybe it's time we let off some steam," He stood up and stretched. Curt stared at him. "You ready to go to the shooting range for our second session, Detective Mega?" Owen smiled and held out a hand. Curt chuckled and slapped it away, but practically jumped up at the mention of the shooting range.

Curt was getting the hang of the Weaver stance of shooting, and seemed to have researched a bit as he asked Owen to teach him the correct Isosceles stance. He didn't know why he'd have to teach him the positions when he already looked it up, but he did it anyway without question. Curt hit the central X on the chest of the target a few times. "You're getting good." Owen put down his own bulkier revolver and checked his friend's progress. "Why don't you go for the head?" He asked, and though it was the obvious next step, he could understand why it was a little intimidating. The area of fucking it up was exponentially greater than the chest target's. Curt slightly lowered his gun. "I know, it's a little scary." Owen reassured him, and put his arms back up again with a finger. "But you just gotta focus on the X." Owen went behind him to check the angle of where he was pointing, but didn't comment at first. The first one was way off, and hit the wall behind it. "Relax, Curt. I've told you this." Owen did the same thing again as he did the last time, but he didn't press quite as close. Last time, he had to make Curt bend over, so that was a little worse. He only guided this arms this time. Still, Owen could tell Curt could probably feel his collarbones against Curt's higher back. "Okay, shoot." Curt hit the target not quite there but was so close it warranted a tiny jolt of joy from him. Owen chuckled. He then went back to shooting at his own target. He liked teaching people new things, but Curt learned in a much more animated way than any of his students. It was refreshing.

When Curt and Owen were back in the car, Curt looked like he was about to explode. "What's wrong, love?" Owen asked, concerned but not too bothered. "Did you-- I?" Curt was having trouble forming a sentence. Owen stared at him. "Fuck, you, do you like, maybe, I... Shit." He sounded like he ran a marathon before saying the jumble of words he just uttered. "Do you maybe want to go out sometime?" He finally said it, and though he was nervous, Owen could see he had that telltale glimmer of confident hope in his eye.

Wait,

Curt wasn't straight?

Whew. Okay. That doesn't change anything, though, right? Owen is still not interested. "Uh," Owen started. "Just drop me off."

The silence in the ride home mirrored the emptiness Owen felt in him. He couldn't even glance at Curt, he was scared of what he'd see.

He left the car without a noise, but he felt Curt stare at him as he walked up to his apartment.

Owen Carvour, what the fuck?

--
Tito barked excitedly as Owen came in, but then quiet down as he saw how Owen didn't even look at him. He just passed by him without even so much as a pat. What's wrong with the human? Tito thought, and whimpered while Owen whomped into the couch face first. He mimicked Owen, and laid down on the floor. "Hey, Tito." He finally faced the dog. His voice was muffled from the cushions. "So I did something dumb today."

Tito was used to listening to his "dumb" human talk to him. (He only uses the word dumb because Owen uses it.) He doesn't seem to understand that though dogs like him were wonderful creatures, they couldn't exactly reply. Tito knew Owen longed for a reply. Whenever his human took another human home and they talked in the room where his human's sleeping place was, they'd always reply (loudly). They sounded like the whining Tito does when he's sad, or hungry. Tito wished his human could find someone for him to reply to as well, and not be "dumb" as he says.

"And I mean, I don't like him. I'm not ready for all that, but I didn't have to be such an arse, y'know. I don't know what came into me!"

Tito didn't understand shit from what his human said, he had his own inner monologue going on. So, he reacted the way only Tito the Rottweiler could react when he didn't what the fuck was going on-- spreading mouth water on his master's face and hand until it made him not talk. Owen smiled softly at Tito's actions, it comforted him.

Tito couldn't help but think that he wasn't enough, though. Which is weird, because as far as Tito knows, he's the best boy. That must mean his human is looking for someone in particular.

He wishes his human could just grow a pair (like Tito can't, because Owen got him neutered, Tito will never forget that) and talk to them.

Chapter Text

Curt didn't want to think about what happened yesterday. He filled the day with work, as he should've been doing yesterday. Curt was sure that whatever he was dealing with, Baron was always one step ahead of him and left before he could get to him. He's been doing this thing for a while, and knew it'd be hell if he got caught. Curt still didn't know why he had to go to separate places with considerable distance to each other, or who he was sneaking around with. Curt didn't know how famous people's minds worked, but weren't these unnecessarily intricate precautions to go? Still, he went to the Starlight Views, knowing damn well he probably wasn't gonna find him.

He asked the maid about their whereabouts, nothing of note. The old woman only said they actually left just a few minutes ago, in a hurry. Curt swore to himself, he was stuck in traffic then. Still, he swung for it and asked to see his room. They looked at each other before agreeing.

The suite was a beautiful thing, it wasn't too large but it did have a king-sized bed and a huge TV it could've been a home theatre. The sheets were changed but there was still trash and miscellaneous items on the floor. Curt looked through the things that had fallen. Nothing. An empty perfume bottle, a pen and a cuff link. Then he rummaged through the garbage bin. Foodstuff (gross), paper towels, and finally, a business card for another place Curt had to check on. In bold letters it said: Grand Arctic Hotel. He smiled to himself. Maybe this wasn't gonna be a huge waste after all. He kept looking through the trash until he hit the bottom. There was another weird thing there, a sticky note that said: "The Mantis has five eyes." Curt found it unnerving, but not too important. Still, he brought it with him.

---
"He found the note, Kennedy?"
"He's going to the Grand Arctic Hotel for sure, Mr. Walsh."
"Good."
--

He called Cynthia, thinking she would maybe have the time to hang out with him after her night shift as he tried to piece together. She said that she needed to take that time to rest. Curt knew that was bullshit because Cynthia only sleeps on the weekends. She probably got a total of 38 hours of sleep in her whole adult life. Well, that was one out of two of his friends that didn't want him around.

He stared at the contact number for Owen. The picture assigned to it was of Owen with his reading glasses on glaring at an essay paper like it threatened his dog's life. It should've been sweet, but with the way he responded to Curt's... idea, it just brought a lot of bitterness with it. Did he fuck everything up? Was this his whole fault? Probably. That's probably why he's been alone for most of his goddamn life. Eventually, he scrolled past it. Work, that's what he's supposed to be thinking about. The last contact he had that wasn't from somebody he hadn't talked to in years was Barb's. She wasn't mad at Curt. At least, he didn't think so. When Barb left her job as his assistant, she wasn't mad. It was actual a pretty civil discussion, because she was moving out of her parent's house and moving in with her boyfriend. She didn't want to feel like a weight to him while they lived together. Curt understood and let her go. She actually said that she'll always support him before she left. He tapped on the call icon on his phone.

"Barb?" He started, voice uncertain. He didn't want to be a pain in the ass. "Hello? Curt?" She sounded pretty chipper, at least. Then again, Barb always sounded chipper. She was a ball of sunshine that Curt desperately needed in these confusing times. "You wanna hang out? Sorry, I hadn't been able to keep in contact." The truth was, Curt was pretty salty. Barb was the only person who kept him company in the office. Most of the time, he was cooped up in there because though 25% of his clients came from Cynthia's "marketing" the other 75% found him because they were in the same neighborhood and saw the signage. There weren't a lot of walk-in appointments though (or any clients at all), so he could get pretty grouchy after spending a few days in the bleak room alone. "Oh, that's alright. I've been pretty busy myself." Curt frowned at this. "Oh. Sorry, that's alright--" Before he could say goodbye, Barb cut in. "No! I'll hang out with you. I'm free, now." Curt perked up once again. "Okay, great! Meet me at the Starbucks at your street?" He recommended and Barb stopped talking for a bit. "There's a new cafe, I think, near the office. Uhm, I think it's called Bean-" "Oh no, fuck them they have shit coffee." Barb hummed. "Oh. Welp, see you at the Starbucks!"

Barb was glowing as she walked in the cafe. The light of the afternoon sun filtered through her golden hair and made them shine, her smile was bright and inviting. She had a spring in her step and she immediately found where Curt was sitting. She sat on the chair opposite of him and playfully punched his arm. "What's wrong, Curt?" Without an answer, she continued. "You look like shit." Her voice remained bright-toned. Curt hadn't checked himself the whole day, but he was sure he did. He didn't get quite enough sleep, for reasons that (once again) he did not want to think about. Still, he forced his exhausted body through the busy day. "Yeah." Was all he replied with. Barb frowned. "Oh, c'mon..Tell me." She whined and Curt simply plopped down the case files on the table. Barb gave him a look. "This is what's wrong, Barb." It seemed that both Curt and Barb didn't believe that. "I still have no idea who this guy is." Curt pointed at the snapshot of the mystery man and Baron in the hallway. Barb didn't take too long to catch up by scanning his notes. "Grand Arctic Hotel's your next stop?" She asked and Curt nodded. He was nervous that it would be a dead end. "Have you checked if he's already there?" Curt groaned. "There's no use. I did that last time and this guy always seems to know when I'm about to get to him! It's crazy." She could see this case was doing a number on him. Curt didn't usually get all too bothered with his cases though. In fact, before, he'd always been a little too careless with them. Without Barb, it required him to sharpen his senses. "Well," She opened up her bag and brought out her laptop. In a matter of minutes she had searched up something. "He's booked, but not yet there." Curt missed her. They both silenced a bit as Curt looked over the facts and extract something that he might've missed. "What if," A diabolical sort of smile sneaked into Barb's face. She suddenly grew very excited. "What if we bugged the room in advance?" Both of their eyes widened. "Oh, my god." Curt tried to keep his voice hushed. "C-Can we do that? Is there a cheap way to do that?!" He felt like a little kid again. "Oh, Curt. I haven't told you, haven't I?" She giggled. "Me and my boyfriend, we met through my side-job. He's one of the guys working at Google, and I was one of the computer technicians!" Wait, woah. Why didn't she leave earlier if she already had such a good job. That could only mean she actually liked Curt enough to want to work with him. Weird. "I'm sure I can fix you up something really subtle and he can connect the feed to your laptop!" She was giddy just thinking about it. Curt never knew this side of Barb. Actually, he never took much time to get to know Barb. He always seemed to talk about his case, in hindsight. "Oh, wow! Okay. That's great. How soon can you get it done?" Curt went straight into business mode again. "Well, I'd only need a night Detective Mega. It's just some tiny cameras. You think you could give me that?" She smirked, feigning a serious look that Barb could honestly not pull off. "We have plenty of time."

They started to plan strategic places of where and where not to put the cameras, and how you'd even get into a booked room in the first place when Barb got her eye on the Ziploc sealed sticky note. "What's this?" Before Curt could explain, she already had it in front of her face. "It's just something I found at the bottom of the trash can. I don't know what it's about but I'm also pretty sure doesn't mean anything. It's so...random." He expounded.

The Mantis has five eyes.

"Curt, Mantis is capitalized." Her tone grew uneasy. "So?" She put the note down. "I...How many hotels have you been to?" It was a weird question, but Curt answered just to get it out of the way. "Three?" He didn't know what she was getting at. "You said he seemed to leave just before you could get him?" She sounded more and more paranoid. "What are you talking about?" He finally asked and she took a breath. "I don't think you should do this." Barb admitted. "What?" "Look at the facts, Curt. You got this ominous note, you said they left just before you did, and according to your notes, it's owned, mysteriously by one person. The only thing that ties this is Marcus Ivanov. What would a cheating spouse case have to do with any of these?" She laid it out for him, and he could almost be convinced. "What? No. Marcus Ivanov is a coincidence. It's just something a friend," He paused. "--suggested. It really doesn't mean anything." He reasoned. "Curt, frankly, I think whatever you've gotten into is way bigger than you. I can't let you go through with this." She reached to her conclusion. "What are you gonna do about it?" There was almost a teasing, childish lilt to his voice.

"Not help you with the bugs?"

Ah, fuck, yeah, that.

"You're serious?" She looked away from his puppy dog eyes. "I am. That note seriously threw me off, Curt." He groaned. "It really isn't that important." She sighed. "I'm telling you, this is all so weird. That note has no context within the settings of even the most- most intricate affairs!" That made sense, but, if it wasn't cheating what was it? "Well, if it's not what I think it is, there's only one way to find out." He smiled a boyish smile that made Barb facepalm. "Oh my- Curt, you could be in danger!" She whisper-yelled. "Woah, I think you and I can agree that's a stretch." He said and she nodded but remained stubborn. "I really don't think you should do this." He stood up. "And yet I gotta!"

--
The blonde girl watched her friend walked away with a spring in his step. He's seemed more ecstatic than ever, with the dumbest smile on his face.

Chapter Text

Curt wakes up in the morning, early and energetic with a purpose. He did everything quicker. Nothing gave him this surge of energy like bugging a hotel room. He slept real late last night. He bought a few cheap, sort of bulky little cameras and planned how to get in. The cameras came with a manual and eventually, Curt decided to sneak in through the window. It sounded crazy, but it was his best choice. The room was only on the second floor of the Grand Arctic Hotel, and had an emergency metal staircase on the side. He wouldn't fall, he just needed to make sure he wouldn't get caught either. He decided it would be best to do it very early in the dawn. It was 4AM, and Curt, though moving with a swiftness not usually in him, actually only slept 2 and a half hours. It was not safe, doing such a physically-demanding activity with such little sleep but this case has dragged itself for too long. He was ready to solve it and get paid.

In the back of his mind, he knew he wouldn't be taking all these risks if he didn't think that Barb and Owen were right about their suspicions. There was something else going on behind the curtains and the risks would be worth it.

When he arrived a few blocks away from the hotel, his own suspicions were confirmed. No one was in the streets. The city was still deep in slumber. He walked within the hidden alleys of the buildings, and kept himself well away from the main street. Getting to the actual hotel and its massiveness was the worst of it all. Curt had to repeat to himself again and again: "It's just the second floor. Don't worry, don't worry." as he walked up the metal staircase and descended into the window of their room. Luckily, it was open. He didn't look down and slipped inside.

It took Curt a bit longer than it would've if Barb had made the cameras for him, instead. He needed to really think about where to put them, or it would be useless. Hopefully, they didn't stick out like a sore thumb. He hid a total of four, all in different angles, and escaped before 5AM. The rest of the work would be done on his laptop and he hoped to God this would work. He sneaked back out and pulled the collar of his coat down, keeping his head down as he slipped back into the shadows.

--
Owen was doing fine. He went to work as usual, his students cowered in fear of him as usual. His coworkers had always said he could've been an authority figure in a past life. He was terrifying, and it was basically like legend in his classes to see him in his mellower state. They talked about it in whispers and many regarded it as fake or plain illusion. Even some of his own colleagues were fooled. The few students that did know he had a softer side, were carefully picked. As a teacher, he wasn't supposed to have favourites, but he did love it when students of his obviously put effort into their work. It was strange for him to have that standard, when he himself didn't finish school in the right time. After leaving London at 17, Owen had to work hard to get a job and get a degree somehow. Still, for the delayed time he went back to university, he was pretty good at it. He was an achiever, as well as pretty popular. He found you could be popular anywhere in America when you got even a slightly exotic accent.

He had just finished his classes for the day and was about to go to his favourite place (the museum) when he heard someone try and jog up to him. "Carvour!" He stopped and turned. It was his colleague-- the Biology professor, if he remembers correctly. He was red-faced, but not sweaty, Owen guessed he was flushed not because of the heat. "Hey," He finally caught up, and stopped in his tracks. "Hidgens." Owen greeted, mimicking Henry's tone. Henry smiled. "Going to the museum?" He asked, and Owen already knew of his intentions. He's heard the jokes among the faculty staff about the younger professor. Still, it occurred to Owen how he never thought that people saw him avidly visiting the museum. "Yes, actually. You--" Owen stopped himself. He's never went with anyone to his "favourite place". I mean, it was just a location. What's the difference? It's just sharing an experience with somebody, and he's shared lots of experiences with lots of somebodies. So, what's wrong, right? Owen pushed himself to finish the question. "Do you want to accompany me, maybe?" He finally asked, and Henry looked like he could explode from the giddy expression on his face. "Oh, t-thanks! Sure!"

They went together, side by side, and Owen couldn't help but admit that it was nice to go with someone around for a change.

--

It was 6PM when two of Curt's cameras turned into grainy darkness. Fuck, they found them. Even worse, the person looking straight into the third camera seemed to knew him. "Would you look at that? The little roach found a way to spy on us." He said, and he had this creepy Scottish accent that made Curt shiver. He was happy they couldn't see him. The man moved away from the camera and seemed to pick it up. Curt had his phone out, and started to transport all of his digital file copies to his phone, as well as filming whatever would happen next on his laptop screen. It would automatically save the files from the camera on his laptop, but it was good to have two digital copies. The man angled it at Baron, and a man tied up on a chair. His mouth was covered, and his body was bloodied and broken. He clearly passed out somewhere in that process. His fingers stuck out at unnatural angles and Curt suddenly felt like vomiting. What had he come upon? He suddenly became very paranoid. "Is Mr. Mega watching?" Baron asked. He had a thick German accent that Curt didn't know about. He's pretty sure that Baron had been parading around as an American on the media. After his question, the other guy presumably nodded or something, because after that, he shot the unconscious man in the head. Blood and bits of brain splattered onto the camera lens, and Curt immediately heaved into the trash can next to him. He went back up to look at the screen just at the right time when the fourth and last camera showed only the words: "Pray it does not see you" on a sticky note.

The Mantis has five eyes.

Fuck.

They know where he is.

Curt ran out of his apartment, and directly towards his car. He needed to go somewhere that he went to before he got this case, somewhere they didn't know. As he approached closer to his car, he saw a man run faster toward him. He clambered in and sped away, just before the man could get any closer.

He didn't have any other choice.

--

Owen couldn't help but have fun with Henry. Henry made it very clear he was interested in Owen early on, and it was a breath of fresh air. 'None of that will they-won't they bullshit.' He thought. He still didn't know if he liked Henry back, but he didn't feel nothing either. He went home, around six, after spending an hour just mostly talking about each other's likes and dislikes. Henry was adorable. He liked his job, he liked the sciences, but he also had this weird obsession with musical theatre. It's not like Owen couldn't understand, he had an appreciation for the arts as well. He even owned his own piano.

He looked at it, and remembered he hadn't actually played in a week or two. Since, the mood was right, why not?

He got on it and played a loud, grand tune..from a Bond film. He loved Bond films. Ooh, that's something he and Henry could talk about next time they see each other. Owen looked forward to it.

--

No one seemed to be following Curt, until he got to Owen's building. He didn't want to see Owen, but Owen's apartment-- surely they didn't know where that was. There was music booming out outwards from the room just as Curt started to knock, and then he saw it: A man slip out from the same entrance door he had just come through. He saw him, and it wasn't too long before he shot Curt right in the thigh. Curt fell to his knees, screaming. Blood gushed out profusely from where the bullet went through him. The man lowered his hand to where Curt now was on the floor and aimed. Curt's eyes widened and his hands went directly to the gun tucked into the waistband of his slacks. It took a lifesaving split second to shoot the man in one of his ankles, and then another bullet to his opposite ankle. The man let out a whimper then a pained yell. The music from the room finally stopped.

Just after Curt shot him in his dominant hand, and he thought he was safe, the man shot him again, to the collarbone. Then the man fell unconscious. It only took one look at how much Curt had bled from his thigh to his shattered collarbone before he passed out as well.

--

Owen heard the gunshots way before he stopped playing, but he didn't want to bring attention to himself. He called 911 after it ended and he finally went to peek outside.

To his horror, he saw Curt, bleeding out on the floor.

"Fuck," Owen knelt down and scooped the bloodied man into his arms. "Shit, fuck." He started to sob. "Curt?" He wanted to shake him awake, do anything, but he was afraid of putting him in any more pain than he was. Owen started to shake. "Curt, wake up, please." His voice cracked. He could hear other doors in his floor open and his neighbors gasp but he didn't care. He pulled Curt's still body closer to him. Now practically crying into him. He repeated Curt's name over and over again, like a painful chant. His hold on him was sloppy, and didn't help with Curt's bleeding. "Please, please..."

 

The paramedics came fifteen minutes later and Owen was shaking so bad that paramedics had to take their time to ask him to let go of Curt's body. He was still shaking as he stared emptily at the flashing lights outside.

Chapter Text

Owen had to be attended by the paramedics as well, after they noticed that he had turned blue. He was in a severe state of shock, and though they advised him to stay away from Curt after the operation, he insisted. Cynthia was there with him in the ICU, and if Owen wasn't so confused he'd notice clearer that she had displayed the most emotion on her face in that situation since 1998. He couldn't take his eyes off Curt. Being in the ICU meant a lot of things, one of them the fact that he had a 50/50 chance of making it. Curt's femoral artery had ruptured, and he had a fractured clavicle that didn't help with how much blood he would've already lost from damaging a major artery. Cynthia says that he would be unconscious for at least four to five days, if his vitals finally stabilize. He was so pale, and Owen saw none of the flustered, messy Curt he once knew. He was sure that Cynthia could hear him cry at night, even if he did wipe them furiously every time she entered to change the dextrose or to record how his vitals were doing. He missed he and Henry's next date, and he managed to muster up the energy to call him about it. He didn't make it through 2 minutes of explaining the situation before he was crying again.

"Owen," Cynthia greeted, and Owen once again wiped his eyes with his sleeves. It'd been the second day by Curt's side, and he hadn't showered yet. He was forced to change though, as he was wearing bloodied clothes when the paramedics found his helpless form. Owen didn't reply with anything. Cynthia understood. "He's doing worse today." She said, with the flat tone she always had. It made Owen feel worse, but he had an idea that maybe she had trouble understanding what feeling worse meant. She noticed that the dextrose wasn't dripping as steadily as it should and got to work on it. "Have you slept at all?" She asked, keeping her eyes on the little funnel attached to the dextrose bag that caught the liquid and turning the plastic knob on it. "No." It was the first time he heard his scratchy, hoarse voice in 24 hours. "You're gonna end up in one of these beds too if you start going crazy on me." She thinks she joked. She sighed. "I understand it's not everyday you have somebody die in your arms, Owen, but you gotta get some rest." She meant well with the statement but Owen felt another stab to his chest with the word die.

Owen remembered the last thing he ever did to Curt, and covered his face with his hands. His breathing quickened.

"Owen," Cynthia put a hand on him. "Please, man." Before she exited the room, she left something in the room that smelled like lavender.

That and the exhaustion from crying brought him some sleep he badly needed.

1952

Owen cannot fucking stand Curt Mega. Is this really America's best agent? It's only been a week when they were forced together on this top mission that both MI6 and CIA wanted to get to. Logically, they got their best men on it. Unfortunately, Agent Carvour didn't like to be bossed around, and Curt had the tendency to. They butt heads, all the time, even with the tiniest things like how to keep your weapons concealed. That, was the subject of their current argument.

"Motherf.." Owen trailed off, and he pinched the bridge of his nose. "Does it really matter?" He spoke through gritted teeth. Curt stared at him like he wasn't looking up at him. "You're fucking joking, right?" Exasperated, as always. "Our last mission, you fucked it up by taking your bloody time with your gun. Just keep it in your lining pocket like I said." He overdid the posh accent with the word 'Bloody'. It was stupid. He was stupid. He turned away from Curt's stupid face and went to the bathroom. "Well, I wouldn't have needed to whip it out so quick if you just passed through the security with an actually concealed weapon!" Owen thought it was obvious, but apparently for Curt, it really wasn't. "What-the-fuck-ever, you know damn well they would've found us either way." Curt went to review the case files. "They didn't need to before we got the file we needed to get. You made it messier than it needed to be." He said, and he could tell Curt would be rolling his eyes by now. It was his signature thing now, just rolling those stupid big eyes at him. "I shouldn't have saved your ass.." Curt groaned. Another unconfirmed tradition between them. Even though they hated each other, they kept on saving each other's hides again and again. "Your mistake, mate."

"You ready yet?" Curt called from outside the bathroom. Owen just greasing his hair back now. "Long hair is hard to maintain, Mega. You wouldn't know about grooming, though."

Meaningless quip. Curt actually cleaned up pretty well.

"See, there are jokes, Carvour and then there are lies." He replied. Owen came out of the bathroom looking as fine as he ever has, and was slightly disappointed only Curt only ever saw him in his best like this. Curt looked at him up and down, with an unimpressed expression. "You gonna flirt your way into the building?" He went away to open the door, about to leave. "I probably would if you won't get us caught when we enter."

They left together, with Owen behind Curt and it annoyed him. He was always in front when he was with other partners.

Still, he guessed it could be worse. Curt was good at his job, even if he was somewhat careless.

2016

When Owen woke up, he had barely enough time to process the weird mundanity of his dream before he snapped his attention to whoever was coming in.

--

The first thing Barb saw when she hurriedly entered the ICU unit was a long-haired brunette's head burrowed into their arms that leaned on Curt's bedside. He was snoring softly, but when the door behind her closed and made a slight tap against the wall, he woke up. He frantically turned to her, as he gripped hard on the mattress. "Who are you?" He asked. Barb remembered what Cynthia told her, somebody else was watching Curt. "I'm Barbara Lavernor, um...Curt and I used to be coworkers." She approached and put her hand out. "I'm Owen, he and I were friends." Owen told her and shook her hand. "Cynthia told me that he..." Barb choked on her own words, when her eyes fell on Curt. He looked so still. She found herself not being able to finish her sentence. "Yeah," Owen muttered. "Cynthia said that he'd wake up in a couple of days." Barb had also heard this from her, but it wasn't complete. Cynthia said he'd wake up if he stabilizes. She understands why Owen wouldn't be able to finish that. "Yeah...yeah." Was all she could say. She didn't think Owen wanted to recall what had happened either. Having someone bleed out on your arms was probably traumatizing. She changed the topic. "How did you know him?" She asked as she sat down on the foot of Curt's bed. Owen's expression turned into something less miserable. "He hit me with his car." He whispered, plainly. "Wait, you're him?" Barb had heard about it from Curt, still, it was a brief text. "Yeah, I'm 'him'. He took care of me." Owen looked down at Curt and his expression soured again. "Like you're taking care of him now?" Instinctively, she tried to make him feel better. Instead, he looked away and sighed. "Maybe." But it was uncertain. "You know," She needed to try something else. "I used to like Curt." At this, Owen turned his head her way. Hm, odd that worked. "Yeah," She allowed herself a small chuckle. "He's cute, y'know? And-and if you got him real excited for something he acted like, like this, this puppy and it's honestly the most endearing thing ever." She confessed, remembering the times when she still worked for him. "Yeah, I know what it looks like. I took him out to a shooting range once, and he acted like a fanboy." Owen's expression didn't seem to move from frowning and neutral, but neutral was good enough for Barb. "I'll bet. You know, he loves action films? He especially likes Bond movies. His mother would always put it on for us as teenagers when I came around." Barb smiled at the memory. "He likes Bond films?" He repeated. "Definitely. He didn't tell you?" There was a pause, before Owen replied. "Curt...asked me out before all this. If I'd said yes, I'd probably know that we had that in common." The frown returned to his face, and Barb gave up trying. Owen was guilty about something and it wouldn't leave him alone.

"Did the police say anything?" For a change, he switched the subject. Barb was appreciative for it. "Yeah, actually. Get this, the guy Curt shot? He was working for some enemies of the US government or something like that-- the officer wouldn't explain much more." It was a more urgent topic that didn't require either of them to feel as heavy as they did. "They have Curt's phone, but unfortunately they can't open it. They don't have much evidence and the guy Curt shot isn't speaking much about anything." She explained. "Wait," Owen said. "I know about those case files. I helped Curt with them." He added, and suddenly, they both shared a knowing look. "I do too. I'm giving my statement to the police later. You should too." She told him and wondered what could've happened between the two that led Curt to her later on. "That's great, I will." He glanced at Curt. "I should."

They both fell quiet for a few moments and then another person came into the room.

A woman with blonde hair came in. "Oh, god, is he okay?" The officer behind her waited outside and she took off her glasses. Barb couldn't believe it. "Is my baby okay?" Mrs. Mega asked with glossy eyes.

Chapter Text

Mrs. Mega reminded Owen so much of Curt. Her dyed hair would threw most people off, but her eyes was everything like's Curt's. He missed looking at those irises-- he got sick in his stomach knowing he might never see them again. He stood up, instinctively, and offered the chair he was sitting on. He wobbled a bit, and recalled that this had been the first time he stood in a while. She smiled at him and that reminded him of Curt too. "Thank you, young man. Who might you be?" She sat down and Barb softly said hi. "I'm Owen--I'm-- I was Curt's friend." Saying it, Owen immediately realized how that could be taken badly. "Was?" Her tone was heartbroken. "No! Oh, god no, I-I meant...we had a bit of a fallout before this." He had trouble saying anything. Mrs. Mega smiled sadly, but seemed more relieved. "Oh, of course." She said. "Hello, Barb." She greeted and Barb nodded as acknowledgment. "You have that accent, Owen, where'd he meet you?" She asked but brought her attention to Curt's unmoving body. She held his hand. "Yes, ma'am. I teach at the university. I'm from London, though." He explained, and though her reply sounded interested enough she didn't look at him. She kept her eyes on Curt the whole time. "That's wonderful. How come I've never heard of you?" Still, she tried to seem animated. "He and I have only known each for a short time. I'd rather ask about you, though." Owen moved next to Barb so she could see Mrs. Mega better. "How come he never talked about you?" Owen asked. She laughed softly and looked down. "It's a little...messy." She muttered. "I'd love to hear it, if you'd want to tell it."

She looked back up at Owen, and he once again saw Curt's eyes.

"Alright."

She inhaled before starting. "I'm guessing you notice that my eyebrows and my hair don't exactly match." She started, and Owen nodded. Barb seemed to already know this story, but mimicked the movement anyway. "The truth is...I'm in this witness protection program. My husband--not Curt's father-- he was not a smart man." Her expression turned melancholic. "In fact, that's what got him killed." She whispered the last word. "Five years ago, back when I still lived in Pennsylvania, my husband was involved in a drug deal gone south. I was in the car when it happened." She kept her eyes once again, like if she ever glanced away for too long he would suddenly disappear. Owen couldn't blame her. "H-He was shot, that day. I went to him after they'd gone, of course, called the cops before that and turns out someone had seen me." She said. "I thought it would be alright until I found somebody on my Curt's childhood bed one night. It was terrifying. I went to the cops, and they tracked the people down." She explained. "That's why I've been off-grid for a while. I'm waiting until they catch all of them and I'm no longer in danger." Geez. Did all the Megas live such eventful lives? Owen has had some drama in his life, yes, but...well...he liked order, he guessed. Neither Mrs. Mega or Curt could stave off risk, it seemed. It was drawned to them, and though that meant fun, that also meant a lot of sacrifices have to be made. "Even Curt didn't know where I was." Her voice cracked and then she began to sob. Barb went over to her and rubbed her back. She was inconsolable.

Damn you, Curt. You're not allowed to die.

 

Soon enough, it was time for Barb and Owen to give their statement to the police. Leaving the hospital for the first time in three days was weird but very much needed. It didn't exactly lighten the suffocating weight Owen felt in his chest when he thought about Curt, but, it did help him focus on something that wasn't Curt. He focused on the lights shining in the night's darkness, and how loud Illinois was. He looked at the way in front of him as he crossed the road. He smelled the smoke in the air and felt the coldness of the wind. He tried to think of anything else, to feel something that wasn't exhaustion. Cynthia's lavender trick could only so well. Owen had thought about buying sleeping pills so he truly doesn't go crazy, but decided against it. He was feeling of emotions, most of them heightened, and he worried for himself. He didn't want to bring any pills into the equation.

Barb went first, and less than 30 minutes later she came out looking no different than she did before. Honestly, he wasn't scared. It was talking to someone in a new environment, at least.

It was easy, and he did feel a little better. He felt like he was helping Curt, and he wasn't being useless for the first time in three days. Then he went back to the ICU room and quietly begged Curt to wake up.

A vibration from his pocket disturbed his tearless sobs and he reached for his phone. It was a text from Cynthia:

"Curt's apartment was set on fire a day ago. It's fucked."

--

1970

"Hey, Tati," It was one of the few times that he and Tatiana could actually get together and talk. They didn't have much time, but they always made sure they discussed topics that didn't matter as much anymore. Things like the universe, the atrocious pattern on the passing girl's dress or in this case, the past. Tatiana put her coffee cup down and brought her attention to the man sitting opposite her. "Do you think it's alright if I'm still thinking of Owen?" He shuffled in his seat. Tatiana frowned. "Curt, you...you have a boyfriend, don't you?" She asked. He looked down. "Yeah, that's why I think it might be..bad. Terrible. Actually, screwed up." They sighed at the same time. Any other instance, it would've been funny but she was truly perplexed that anyone could love someone so much like Curt loved Owen. "Think of Owen, how?" Curt smiled affectionately at the question. "How he used to do things, when Richard does them. And uh...unfortunately, it also happens when we make love." He laughed but he was clearly embarrassed. She rolled her eyes. "Curt, sweetheart," She paused, waiting until Curt's expression turned neutral again. "Owen is dead." She forced herself to say it. He frowned. It broke her heart. "It's been ten years. You, you need to let go." She said. "I know that." Curt said it like he didn't actually know that. He did, he just didn't want to have to. He had a bad habit of dwelling on the past. Moving on then meant putting his job, his purpose, before his lover, now it meant getting over the fact he killed his lover. He didn't drink like he did during his "early retirement" because he understood it was right. He just didn't to live in the current state of his life, he just wanted to go back. So he tried every day, in every step of his life.

Regression was his defense mechanism.

Every time he was reminded of the fact that the past was not his present, he forgot it.

He was not in the best state of mind, and nobody understood that.

2016

Curt watched as once again the "screen" turned to black. The 3, 2, 1 countdown started again to his next movie. He didn't know where he was. He was sitting in darkness, and the only thing he could look at was this screen and the weird actors in these weird movies. Some of them, they looked like him, but he always had the eerie certainty that it wasn't him. He wasn't an actor, he was a detective. It would make no sense.

The next movie was about to start, and he couldn't deny this used to be pretty fun.

It was getting more and more boring though, and he wanted to do something else. He just didn't know how, yet.

Chapter Text

On the third day, Owen was losing hope. He knew Cynthia said it'd be longer than that but Curt didn't look any better than he did before. Barb joked once that Owen seemed to mirror that sentiment. It wasn't that funny, but at least she tried to make him smile. Cynthia was much more the tough love type of person, and every time she entered she reminded him to "Be less of a bitch to Curt because God knows when he decides to get shot next." and though it wasn't what he needed, it's probably what he deserved. He just wished that there be a "next" for him and Curt. Maybe then, he'd get it right.

It was one of those rare days where both Barb and Mrs. Mega were absolutely unable to visit, and so Owen sat there, guarding over Curt, thinking about his apartment. The whole place being burned down proved to the cops that this wasn't a normal case. It was something bigger than any of them. They were getting a lot of progress, and last Owen heard, Barb was going to ask her boyfriend to help with unlocking Curt's phone. It would be all there, the evidence needed to track down where Baron Walsh was going next. Owen didn't know as much as everybody else, but he was probably the most furious. Whatever happens, he hopes Baron gets what he deserves.

A vibration from Curt's bedside snapped Owen out of his thoughts; it was his phone. He picked it up and took the call, making sure to be quiet (as if Curt was even gonna wake up with his normal volume. If it was only a matter of loudness, he'd scream and wail for Curt to wake up).

"Hello?"

"Owen?" A familiar voice answered. It took a bit for Owen to process, but eventually got it.

"Oh, hell, Henry? I am so sorry about," He inhaled and thought about the date he had to cancel and the number of texts he'd ignored.

"Everything. ..It's been so exhausting." His voice cracked at the last syllable and a painful lump formed in his throat. He hadn't cried in a while, maybe his body noticed.

"Owen," Henry's own voice lowered and tried to soothe him. "That's alright. I understand. I just wanted to see you again." He said. Owen frowned.

"I'm...I can't leave him." Owen was going to say that he wasn't allowed to, but who told him that? The only thing that could was keeping him from seeing Henry was himself and no other rule.

"I know that. I'm coming to you. What hospital are you staying at?"

Owen was surprised, but told him the address and room number anyway. Before ending the call, Henry told him:

"Look, Owen, I know this must be really hard, but I promise you I won't leave you because of it. I-I really like you, Owen, I hope you get that."

Owen didn't know what to say. For so long he'd only been thinking about when Curt was okay enough to be moved away from the ICU and worrying about Tito even though Barb was taking care of him. He was so concerned about everything else he actually forgot about himself.

"Thank you, Henry. I'm looking forward to seeing you again." Then he hung up. Maybe he was looking forward to it. He wasn't quite sure yet.

 

Henry arrived thirty minutes later with a bottle of wine and takeout, and Owen was grateful for it. It was mostly quiet as they ate. Of course, they had greeted each other when they first came in but aside from that, it was silent. Owen feels Henry's gaze every time he looks at Curt. After eating, Henry threw their takeout boxes and poured both of them a styrofoam cup of wine. Henry spoke first: "How have you been?"

It was weird being asked about yourself these days. It was nice to be reminded that there was somebody in the world besides him and Curt's pale form. "It's been...quite shit, honestly." Owen opts for honesty and Henry smiles at at. It was cute. "Stupid question, huh? But I meant if you were eating, keeping fit..you know, stuff like that." His eyes never strayed from Owen's. They were blue-- a beautiful, vibrant blue. "Oh," Owen managed to chuckle. "No, I..This was my first meal in the day." He admitted, and Henry suddenly stood up and moved his chair with him to position himself beside Owen. He showed him the inside of the messenger bag he had brought with him. It was full of snacks. "Take some." He was serious. "What?" Owen asked but took a a bag of Skittles and some potato chips anyway. "This was for me?" He was amazed by how much food there was. Underneath it was Henry's laptop and a large notebook. "No, this is what I bring when I go to work. This is what everybody should bring when they go to work." He said and both of them laughed.

They let silence take over their conversation, but it wasn't bad. Owen felt comfortable, having somebody be there beside him. He didn't feel alone.

After a few minutes of contemplation, Henry finally said something. "Can I ask you about it?" He let the statement float unfinished. Owen understood, and nodded. "What happened?"

Owen took a breath and retold the story. Somewhere along that road, Henry held his hand. It was a sweet gesture and Owen didn't flinch away when it happened.

"I'm sorry. He didn't deserve that, neither did you." Owen only nodded in response. Henry's hand was still on Owen's. He looked down and recoiled quickly. "Oh, god, I am so sorry!" His hands went to cover his face and even then he decided to look away. Owen laughed softly. "Hey," He put his palm on the man's shoulder gingerly. Henry looked back at him. "It's alright. I needed this." His reassurance didn't do much, apparently. Henry turned redder. "Owen, I...I know you're in a vulnerable state, and I'm scared that you'll-- you'll think you feel something but you don't. I don't want that for either of us. Do you really need this? Should I just go?"

Before Henry could continue rambling, Owen's lips was on his to shut him up. It was brief and adorable, just like most of their interactions went. Henry looked beet red by then.

"Wow." He gasped. Owen smiled. "Don't overthink it, Henry." They both shared a breathless chuckle. "Noted." Henry replied. Owen couldn't actually place what he felt, but it was better than he'd ever been in the past few days. He was smiling and talking comfortably. He had Henry to thank for that.

When Henry left and Owen was once again alone with Curt, the only thing he could stare at was Curt's emotionless face. It wasn't peaceful, it's wasn't lively, it wasn't anything like he associated with Curt. He missed his smile and god, fuck, out of everything he missed his voice.

 

"What would I do...if I had not met you?" Curt was muttering and singing at the same time but Owen could still understand it. "Why are you singing Falsettos?" He asked, and Curt immediately turned his attention to Owen. "Barb took me with her to a show. It was really cool." He was a little abashed but it was obvious he was ecstatic to talk about the musical. Awfully gay choice of a show, Owen thought, but okay. "National tour? Nice....Though I watched the actual revival cast in 2016." Subtle flex by Owen. Curt's eyes widened. "Fucking no way." He gasped. "I heard they were iconic."

It was now Owen's turn to be surprised.

"You haven't seen it?" His voice raised a bit in pitch. Not watching the 2016 revival cast was offensive. "No.." Curt trailed off. "After you solve this case I'm forcing you to watch the bootleg with me, Mega."

Owen just wished he could take Curt up on that offer.

Another vibration kept Owen from drifting off to sleep. It was from Barb, this time.

Were abt to catch this mf! U wanna come w us?

He looked at Curt, and then at his phone. He would be no help here, sulking.

I'll be there.

Owen put his hand on the side of Curt's face, light as a feather. "Please wake up." He whispered, and left.

---

Curt was watching a film he'd already watched before. The woman on the screen, she'd introduced herself to him out of the blue. She was real, and sitting beside him now, watching this "film". He still didn't where he was, but he was sick of it. "Jesus Christ, how many times do I have to see this sob story?" Curt turned away from the screen when the shorter man shot the tall evil guy dead. The woman-- Tatiana-- was deeply invested in it. "If you don't wanna see this movie, why not just leave?" That was strange. She didn't sound Russian, Curt noticed. Her full name was pretty damn Russian. "Right, like I could just do that. I've tried before, y'know. It's just neverending darkness here." He grumbled and the woman rolled her eyes. "You ever tried again?" She asked. "No, it's useless. What do you know anyway?" He insisted and Tatiana looked back. He mimicked her movement.

There was a door behind him now, it said: "EXIT" in red neon letters. Curt's mouth fell open. "Yeah, what do I know, I'm basically your imaginary friend. Go hang out with real people, Curt."

She walked away. Curt stood up and finally exited the dark room.

 

Curt woke up and it was dark, but not pitch black. There was warmth, and a yellow light glowing dimly from beside him. He turned towards it. It was a lamp. There were objects. He then put his arm up. There was a bunch of things connected to him, but he could feel the coolness of the air. The sheets beneath him were soft. His mouth tasted disgusting. He scanned the room. There were decorations, and get well soon balloons and white walls. He could hear the beeping of the heart monitor.

He was alone,

but at least he was here.

Chapter Text

The first person to see him was Cynthia-- Cynthia who adorably obviously lost composure when she saw him. Her eyes widened and her mouth hinted at a smile. "Oh my god." She muttered, not breathless or uncharacteristically grateful, but different-- softer. Curt managed to smile for her. That was all the interaction that happened, but it was a lot for both of them, they could feel it. She was careful in her work, as always, and checked his injuries with a tenderness that he had never known from her. Or maybe he never really let himself know? He wasn't quite sure, but it was there without being forced. It was a wonderful, real silence, before Cynthia handed him a glass of water. "Do you remember what happened?" It was a question for her work. "I got shot." Curt said, promptly and plainly that made Cynthia laugh out loud. Listening to her laugh made it spread to him. "No shit, Sherlock. I meant how much do you remember from when that happened?" She asked and sat on his bedside. "I--" Curt paused to think.

Somebody had caught up to him and had shot him in the thigh. Horrible pain shot through his being and he fell down. He remembered crying, crying because motherfucker-holy-shit what did the guy shoot that it hurt that much? Then he saw the blood. The blood spurting disturbingly like some gruesome scene from a horror movie. Except this was real life. He shot the guy. The guy falls too, and he gets shot again.

This all happened...in front of Owen's apartment.

After getting that bullet in his collarbone, his vision turned to black and that was it.

"Owen." He answered. A terrible thought came upon him. "D-Did...Did Owen find me?"

Curt's eyes swept the room. It wasn't just him and the occasional visitor. There was a familiar messenger bag leaning on the table across the bed. On his bedside, there was a watch that wasn't his.

He turned to Cynthia, who nodded. "Owen thought you were dying in his arms, man." She followed that by explaining what had happened, and Curt's turned more and more confused and horrified as she went on. He really bled out in his arms? And stayed with him for two days without ever leaving his side? Where did that come from? Holy shit, did Owen actually like him? Holy Shit?

When she finished the story, there was only one last question to ask: "Where is he now?" Cynthia's expression didn't give him any clue. It was back to neutral. "He's trying to catch your spy guy with Barb and the cops." She replied. Curt's chest swelled with pride. He was a little confused when he woke up without anybody there, but now that he knows why he was alright with it. Of course, he would have liked to go after it himself, but even he understood that he was in no condition to do that.

"Actually," Cynthia continued. "It's been six hours since he left. They should be getting done by now. You want me to text him?" She took her phone from her pocket, already on it. Curt smiled. "Alright. That's done." She stood up. "He should be here here in...'Less than five minutes'. I'll come back to check up on you in a few hours from now."

She walked away and even though he already missed her presence, he couldn't help but feel giddy all the same.

Owen busted in through the door, moist with sweat and wide-eyed only 2 minutes later. When he saw Curt grinning at him, he returned the expression and practically ran towards Curt. He enveloped him in a hug, and Curt hugged back although weakly. "I'm sorry I wasn't there when you woke up." When Owen pulled away, there were tears on his face. They still weren't that far from each other, just not locked together anymore. "It's alright." Curt smiled, and wiped at Owen's cheek with his thumb. Owen leaned into his touch. There was a beat of silence, and then Owen asked it:

"Can I kiss you?"

Curt nodded, ecstatic, and Owen kissed him. It was tender, helpless, hopeful, caring and all the adjectives in the world couldn't describe how Curt was feeling. Owen was smiling by the end. They were both breathless after.

Owen stared at him like he was the goddamn world and Curt swore his heart skipped a beat. Silence overtook the room, and somewhere along the line, their hands ended up intertwined. "Don't ever do anything stupid like that again." Owen told him, jokingly. He was sarcastic, but sincere and Curt knew it. He was annoyed by it. It was an occupational hazard. How was he supposed to know? "Do my job?" He quipped in return. He laughed, but Owen didn't. "Doing your job doesn't mean putting yourself in unnecessary danger, Curt." He was trying to be lighthearted, but Curt took offense. "It wasn't unnecessary." Owen snorted, and Curt couldn't believe the audacity.. "Yeah? Who caught your man, then?"

What the fuck?

Curt took his hand away from Owen's. "I did. With my investigation, and my evidence. It's my case, Owen." He thought that was common sense. Owen sighed. "Let's not do this, okay? All I'm saying is, if it were it me, I would not have gotten shot." It was obvious he was getting exasperated with Curt. He didn't give a shit. He was being a bitch.

"Why are you so self-centered?" Curt snapped.

Silence. Cold, tense silence.

But Owen wouldn't back down. Not even here. "Why are you so fucking daft?"

Bullshit. He's bullshit.

Then Owen left.

The room was cold and lonely. Curt still would rather have it that way than see Owen now.

Chapter Text

Owen could feel Cynthia's eyes linger on him as he left the hospital. He didn't spare a glance, so he didn't know if she was judging him or not, but he was sure that the next time she checks up on Curt, she'd get real mad at him. He wouldn't fault her for feeling like that if she did. In the heat of the moment, Owen thought his comment would be seen as some sort of lighthearted comment; he really didn't think about the implications. The man almost died for his job, because he'd rather do that than anything else. It was good, Curt was passionate.

It's so funny how Owen could call Curt stupid, when he in fact, was the stupid one. He felt pretty damn "daft" right about now. God, why did I say that?

As he went into the street, the warm morning wind that hit his face (once welcomed) felt alien to him. He felt out of place. He looked up, to where Curt's window would be and he imagined himself and Curt, holding each other. He pictured a scene wildly different than what had occurred. He wouldn't have have said such rash things, he would have just shut up and been grateful and finally tell Curt how much he means to him.

Then the scene faded away into the other buzz of his brain and he walked into a cafe into the street; he called Henry. That was another thing he did wrong: he lead Henry on. In his mind he could reason that it was because Henry came at a time when he was most helpless and needed somebody, but he could also argue that he was an asshole. The phone stopped ringing as Owen sat himself, and Henry greeted him excitable as ever. "Owen! You called me. Wow." Owen felt worse at that. "Hey, Henry, can you meet me?" God, was his tone too cold? He felt like he was going to fuck everything up. This is why he was alone, not because he sucked at keeping contact, but because he was a dumbass. An indecisive dumbass. "Oh, uh, sure!" There was a definite pause in his reply. Owen proceeded to tell him the location of the cafe.

Now, that Owen was alone he had to face the music. He had to gather himself-- finalize his thoughts. Henry was a beautiful, incredible, walking porn of a man. He was Adonis to Owen. He liked musical theatre like Owen liked musical theatre. He was fun, he was supportive and soft and a ball of sunshine. Not only that, but intelligent. Owen was a sucker for intellect.

Curt, unfortunately, didn't have Henry's brand of smarts. Curt didn't listen to his friends, when they obviously bridge and find something that is big. Curt makes mistakes. Curt is confused, I mean, for a whole week Owen thought he was straight. Fuck's sake, Owen could still feel the pain in his neck from when Curt literally ran him over with his car. Curt only knew one Broadway show, and he hadn't even known about the 2016 revival cast of Falsettos. He's reckless and clueless and daft and...wonderful.

When Curt left his life, he was incredibly bored. Curt brought feelings with him that Owen thought were dead within him.

Owen really, really liked Curt. He would be damned if he lost him and it was his fault.

Owen's contemplation was cut off by the door chime going off. It was Henry. Henry who looked like he was going to walk for Calvin Klein on a runway. Oh Christ, give him strength. He beelined for Owen's table with a grin that broke Owen's heart. Was he really going to do this? "God, if you're up there and you can hear me, please get an earthquake in here and kill us all." Was one of the lines from Owen's internal monologue. "Owen!" Henry said as he sat down. He was so cute. This isn't fair. "Henry." Owen remained as professional sounding as he could. Henry's face fell. Oh no. "What's wrong?"

Owen Carvour, for once in his life, was at a loss for words. Oh, FUCK. "Uhm," He tried, he failed. He cleared his throat. Henry was on edge. "I--" He paused again. Was he gonna do this to Henry of all people? How would this even go? They're colleagues. This is gonna permanently ruin their work relationship. Oh god, what if Henry tries to get him fired after this? "Are you alright?" Henry interjected, for his sake. Owen nodded, and took a sip of his water. He was sweating slightly. "Yes, yes, I just needed to confess something." He stalled with that, but it only made Owen's stomach turn. He was really going to do this. "Oh, alright." Henry replied, waiting still.

"I...Don't think we should continue whatever this is between us." He finally admitted. You could pinpoint when exactly Henry's heart broke. "I.." Henry's voice cracked. He cleared his throat. "Why?"

Ah, the question of questions. How could Owen answer this in the least direct way possible?

"You remember what you said in the hospital? --How you didn't want to take advantage of me while I was vulnerable?" Owen asked. Henry's eyes go glossy. "Oh god, this was my fault?" He asked, weakly. FUCK. No, wait, he's already fucking this up. "No! No, no, I lead you on because I was confused. Even if you were doing all that while I wasn't in this situation, I still wouldn't like you--" Owen stopped before he could say something worse. Henry's face is in his hands. Oh my god. How can someone so smart fuck something up so, so badly? "Oh, god. I am so sorry. All I'm saying is-- The man in that bed. I like him. I like him a lot, Henry." He confessed, and at that, thankfully Henry finally raised his head. He wore a sad smile. "Obviously." He muttered.

Owen was surprised. "Oh." He said it so softly, it would've been a whisper. Henry stood up abruptly. "Well," His tone was now professional, his expression cold. "I'm sorry it didn't work out." That was softer, genuine, and let out the hurt that he truly felt. Owen frowned. "I'll see you at work."

Then he walked out.

This was the better way. He shouldn't be lying to either himself or Henry. Still, it was hard to convince yourself that when Owen saw him so obviously sniffing as he exited.

Owen stayed there, ordering a coffee suddenly and nearly downing it in one go. He wished he was at a bar and not a goddamn cafe right about now.

Suddenly, his phone buzzed. It was a message from Cynthia:

"I heard what you did. we both know you're gonna come back. Don't Fuck It Up :)"

Owen finally smiled that day, and instead of questioning how the fuck Cynthia got his number, he walked back to the hospital with a purpose.

Chapter Text

Curt was hurt. Of course, he was. Owen was the man who broke his heart, not once, but twice now. Owen who lead him on and gave him a boner. Owen who took him to two shooting dates and then rejected them and never once called. Never once tried to reach him. The same Owen who was arrogant, impulsive, egotistical and insensitive. The same Owen who let him wake up alone. He made him feel like shit after narrowly escaping death. What the hell was that? It's not like he was all that great, anyway. Owen is skinny, way too tall, and always has unkempt facial hair. His hair could never compare to Curt's.

But fuck, he talked smooth. Owen smelled good, too. He was hot when he'd stand behind him and basically bends Curt over as he teaches him how to shoot a gun. He was smart, and it was never boring when he was around.

He still liked Owen. Unfortunately, he just didn't feel the same way.

Fuck, that stings to admit.

He relayed the story to Cynthia, and she was surprisingly talking shit about Owen afterwards. It was unnecessary, because Curt could never truly dislike Owen, but it did make him laugh. She informed him that he'd be moved into a normal hospital unit and out of the ICU later. Then she left, and Curt was alone again.

He knew he said he'd rather be alone than see Owen, but fuck, he'd already been separated from the world once, and separated from Owen twice. He was getting sick of being left behind. He didn't know what was wrong with him that made everybody leave. Curt could admit that he didn't listen to Owen or Barb when they were implying that this was bigger than him. It turns it out it was, and now here he is, sad and wired to so many things it felt like 90% of his body's parts were from outside apparatuses. He should probably trust his friends more. That was something to take note of.

For now, though, he couldn't do shit. He was given a book by Cynthia but what the fuck would he do with that? He asked about his phone, but it was still in the custody of police. Great. At least Mariah Walsh was going to give him his check soon, and hopefully, compensation. Bills were gonna suck ass. Everything was gonna suck ass. He was gonna have some pretty bad injuries that would probably interfere with his work for a while, he's gonna be broke and Owen would soon leave his life permanently. Yay.

Just when Curt was about to give in to the need to get up and walk around, Owen burst through the door. Instead, Curt found himself glaring at the man. "What are you doing here?" He asked, through gritted teeth. Owen approached him with a determination. "Curt fucking Mega," He started and Curt hated him. He hated his voice. Fuck this guy. "I like you a lot and I just rejected somebody else for you. I am sorry I am a dickhead." He spoke clearly and almost in a robotic manner that made it look like he was saying all this on pure adrenaline. Curt admittedly was still processing the "i like you" part. "I'll.." The adrenaline was wearing off. "I'll stop being a dickhead for you." It was not an eloquent statement, but his eyes were so sincere that Curt was moved. Owen took his hand. "I'd do anything for you-- to be with you, Curt." He finally said it. Curt's face flushed. Oh my god. This was happening. They were doing this. "I really like you. I'm sorry if I made you ever think I didn't."

A smile appeared into Curt's face as he intertwined his fingers with Owen's. "You're sappy." Was his only comment. It only took one glance from Curt to Owen's lips for Owen to kiss him.

This was so much better than before.

"I really like you too, Owen." Curt was a little breathless but he got the message across. Then they laughed, disbelieving of what just happened. It was all so surreal.

"I really am sorry about before. I wasn't thinking." Owen sat at his bedside, still holding his hand. His thumb drew circles on the back of it. Curt smiled. "You should be. That was a lot to wake up to." He replied and Owen's face fell. "I'm sorry I wasn't there when you woke up." He muttered. Curt shook his head. "You can apologize in dates." They shared a laugh.

The room looked less grey. The air wasn't as stale. Owen was here. They were really together, finally.
--

 

They ended up cuddling into each other on the bed. They only let go when somebody entered the room.

It was Barb, with a big, bright smile on her face and a giant basket of food. "Oh my gosh!" Her eyes sparkled. They couldn't exactly disentangle themselves before she found them. Curt wasn't sure if the ecstatic greeting was because Curt was awake, or because she found them in that position. She hurried off to sit on the chair where Owen used to be. Curt pulled Owen back down to lie next to him. Owen laughed and snaked his arm back to Curt's sides again. "So, I see..this is happening." She practically was smiling ear to ear now. "Yeah, it's a wonder when your vision is so bad." Curt said and Owen laughed. Barb rolled her eyes. He'd found a new partner in his antics. This was going to be good. "Shut up. Okay, but don't. Tell me everything!" She squealed. Owen opened his mouth to say something but she cut him off. "Okay, but wait! Food!" She proceeded to unwrap the clear plastic wrap on the basket. It was mostly candy. Curt chuckled nervously. "Is that the best option for Curt?" Owen seemed to echo his thoughts. Barb paused to think. "Well, uhm," She thought again. "Well! He was hemorrhaging pretty bad, and you know what you lose with blood? Glucose. Candy has lots of glucose!" She offered with a sweet smile.

"Not exactly...the best option." Somebody said, and they all turned to Cynthia who was opening the door with a tray of food. It was about supper time for Curt. However, it did not look like the usual hospital food. Curt lit up. "Is my mom--?" "BABY!" Mrs. Mega practically pushed Cynthia out of the way. Any other person, she would've yelled at them-- but this was an elder, and her friend's mom. Mrs. Mega immediately ran to him to hug him but stopped in her tracks when she saw Owen glued onto her son. Her eyes widened, Owen's eyes widened. Curt realized up at this point, only Owen, Cynthia and him actually knew about his sexuality. Even Barb didn't get a confirmation-- she just saw Curt snuggling up to Owen and went with it.

His mom, though? That was different.

Still, she went next to Curt and held his hand. Owen started to part from Curt but once again, Curt's hand on his thigh stopped him on his tracks. He went back down to position, and hid behind his back, like a gay chicken. "Mom," Curt started.

Everybody in the room seemed to hold their breaths. This was a roller coaster of a day for Curt. For Cynthia, this was really fucking weird, and way too much emotion in a single space.

"You know Owen?" He asked. Mrs. Mega looked at everybody in the room, looking for an explanation. "Yes." It was a prompt reply. "Well, he and I, we, uhm." Curt had to pause when he felt Owen's hand trace mindlessly on the skin of his back. Not a great time to be doing that, but okay. "We like each other." He finally admitted.

Cynthia and Barb shared a panicked look. What the hell was going on?

"Like-Like gays?" Mrs. Mega said. Cynthia and Barb cringed together, even Owen shuffled in his position. Mrs. Mega seemed to have read the mood. "Oop, sorry. I didn't mean to sound like a bigot." She excused herself and everybody exhaled. Owen gave the loudest sigh of relief in the world. Barb giggled at that slightly. Mrs. Mega turned back to her son, with sincere eyes. She smiled. "Son, ever since you were born, you never once brought a girl home." She said. Curt groaned. Barb was now shamelessly laughing her ass off. "I thought: 'Well, gee, I must've raised a sissy or this boy of mine is extremely queer.'" She tightened her hold on Curt's hand, in a way that only a mother could. "Once, that was something bad to me. Now that I've almost lost you, I would rather give my life than be the reason we ever drift apart." She finished. Curt's heart was going to explode. "I love you so much, Curt, and I always will."

She hugged him. He was so grateful to be alive. Owen noticed first that he was crying.

"Hey," He whispered into his ear. Owen's hand now comforting Curt still on his bare skin. "You alright?" He asked as Curt's mom breaks apart from him and then furiously wipes at his face. "Owen, I'm going to explode from happiness. I'm more than alright." He whispered back and they shared a breathless chuckle.

"Well! Now, you've gotta tell me how you two met!" Mrs. Mega yelled. Cynthia had to gesture to her to ask her to keep it down for the other patients. Owen laughed awkwardly in response, and volunteered to tell the story. "Oh, wait! But I gotta show you baby pictures of Curt, don't I? Oh! A mother's job is never done. But! Story first." She gushed. Curt was very clearly groaning in embarrassment. Barb was still giggling her head off. In a bold move, Owen kissed Curt's cheeks to somehow calm him down. It only caused him to get more flustered.

"Well, it started when Curt ran me over with his car, and I woke up in his apartment. So, there I was, with this wonderful, dashing young man and--"

Owen continued retelling the story. Curt was cringing at his past self when he remembered, they in fact did meet because of a stupid car accident. Then he thought about the goddamned bills again. He was going to be broke and homeless soon enough.

A round of laughter cut through his thoughts. He smiled along with them. He could feel the vibrations of Owen's chest against his back.

Ah, fuck bills.
If Owen was the result of a car crash, what other good things in life could present themselves as misfortune? He didn't know, yet. He just knew he was here, with people that loved him. He was with people that were so happy he was able to wake up. He was with Owen, after all those weeks pining over him.

Curt was sure of it. Everything will be alright.

Chapter Text

It was one of those rare days when Curt woke up earlier than Owen. They were uncommon instances but Curt always wished he'd do it more because he loved being in this position. He was on Owen's right side and cuddled up close to him. The rays coming in through the windows lit up Owen's peaceful sleeping face. He was so beautiful.

It had been two and a half years since Curt's accident. He was a prominent detective now and Owen actually had friends for once. After leaving the hospital, he got a massive check from Mariah asking him to shut up about the details of her involvement with catching Baron. Still, Curt got the publicity because of the police's statement. During this time, Owen and Curt were frequently dating, and Curt finally got rid of his virginity. He was getting new cases every week, and even if he was busy, Owen always remembered to come home to him after work since it was so near the university. It was idyllic. They both thought it couldn't get any better.

By the third month of dating, they were officially boyfriends. This was the first serious boyfriend that Owen has had in seven years. Owen couldn't be any happier. They helped each other get over their issues.

By the first year, with Curt having enough money saved up, Owen proposed that he'd move in with him.

Curt accepted. He now has a different office in the area. They say their first "I love you"s to each other.

By the first year and five month mark, Owen gets a major raise. They adopt a cat. Her name is Ana. Tito is way too soft to fight her.

By now, Owen had never beeen more sure of a decision.

He wakes up to Curt's face smiling at him. "Morning, sleeping beauty." He says. Owen rolls his eyes. "Morning, creep." He chuckles. Curt stood up and put on some boxers before opening rolling up the blinds. The sun glares at Owen's face but he doesn't mind after staring at his boyfriend's naked ass. "Come back to bed." He whined. It was a Saturday, unfortunately, Curt still had business on Saturdays.

"...Fine." He indulged him. It was a nice day to sleep in.

As he snuggles back into position, with Curt's back against Owen's front, Owen grabs something from the bedside drawer. "Hey, Curt." He said, and Curt hummed only in response. When he turned, there was a ring in front of him. A wonderful silver band with his initials engraved on it.

Curt was grinning and tearing up. He looked into Owen's eyes. "Will you marry me?" He asked.

Curt couldn't say anything but he nodded. Owen kissed him before putting the ring on his finger. Curt put his hand up in the light to admire it. "Holy crap." He muttered. Owen laughed.

"I love you." He whispered. He always did. He feared if he said it too loud the world would jinx him and take Owen away from him. He didn't want that. All he wanted was Owen.

"I love you too, Curt." All Owen wanted was Curt, too.