Chapter 1: Realizations
"So what's the plan, Carvour?" Curt jumped up from the bed as Owen walked into the room. "Bombs planted in their cars? Grenades in their coats? I'm ready to make some commies pay"
"Calm down, Mega. This will need to be well planned and careful, we can't have them suspect a thing." He began to rifle through his suitcase, searching for something.
"And when they are just getting comfortable…. Booom!" Curt mimicked an explosion as Owen just rolled his eyes, still searching.
"I'm thinking something more discreet.." He brandished a small vial, containing a bright blue powder that shined in the dim hotel room light. Curt looked at it with curiosity.
"And that is…"
"Good God, do the American teach their recruits nothing? It's amobarbital, the blue devil. A pinch of this and they'll fall asleep in seconds." He tossed the bottle in his partner's direction and Curt jumped to grab it.
"Sorry… a sedative? Our order was to kill Mr. Puls and his associates. Owen just just sighed slightly and tapped his Com-watch.
" New orders, Mega. You should check your com more often." Curt gracefully gave Owen the finger, before checking his com. "No need to sulk, interrogations can be just as fun as explosions."
"Oh, fuck off." He laughed and grabbed his jacket, ready to leave.
"Come on, we better get going, we still have things to do before the meeting " Owen patted his shoulder and left the room, the warmth of his hand lingering on Curt's skin.
His brain was on fire. Fuckfuckfuckfuck. It screamed. He knew he shouldn't be having these feelings, they were useless and stupid, and there was no way in a million years that Owen would return them. But… It felt so good. The way his heart would flutter when he laughed. The way every time he and Owen fingers' brushed, the sensation lingered for hours. It was so God damn infuriating , but in the best way possible. Still, he had a mission to complete and nothing was going to get in the way of that.
"Come on, they were meant to be here twenty minutes ago…" Curt whispered into his com, "Do you think they're bailing on me."
"They'll be there,they wouldn't stand you up. If our information is correct, they consider you the key to their plan." Owen's tinny voice came through the earpiece, as Curt began to pace the store room . He knew Owen was stationed not far away, but this would still be dangerous.
Suddenly, the door creaked open and an imposing man entered, flanked by two thugs.
"Are you Heinrich?" He asked in German, his voice deep and gruff, with a slight Russian accent.
"See, I told you, it'll be fine." Owen whispered in his ear.
"Yes, and I assume you are Mr. Puls." Curt smiled cordially and went to shake the man's hand. He frowned slightly, shared a glance with his comrades and then shook it, his face changing into a strange smile.
"Call me Karl, and this is Victor and Marcus." The other two men nodded slightly, barely acknowledging Curt's existence. Karl pulled a wad of cash out from a coat pocket and gestured towards him. "So… Have you got the information about the Americans or not." Curt extracted a thin envelope from his own coat and passed it over. To Karl and his henchmen, it seemed like they'd just been handed an envelope of international secrets. But in reality it was chock full of carefully chosen lies. Just realistic enough so that for the next ten minutes they thought they'd succeeded .
Karl passed it to one of the men, Curt wasn't sure if it was Marcus or Victor, who opened it, nodded slightly and muttered a few words in Russian.
"Here you go, the payment you wanted." He handed over the money, which Curt pocketed. Now time for the hard bit, he thought.
"How about a drink, gentleman. I've got time to kill and I'd love a drink to commemorate the beginning of the end for America." He gestured to the shelves of seemingly old, Russian beer, around them. "And I've heard that Russian beer is some of the best."
That last line seemed to sell them, and Curt chose four bottles from the shelf. He looked carefully at the cap, making sure to take the one with the slight dent for himself. He swiftly opened the bottle, the others following. They looked to him to say something. Oh shit, what's cheers in German. . Bottoms up had to be an international expression, right? He racked his brain for the right words and decided to go literal. Böden for bottoms, and oben for up.
"Böden oben!" Karl narrowed his eyes. Oh fuck oh fuck oh fu-.
"You know, it's an American expression." Cuet laughed nervously. "Bottoms up!" He said in English. But he soon realized his mistake. He had used his American accent.
"You would know a lot about that wouldn't you, little American." One of the henchmen said, and Curt knew his cover was blown. Maybe they had been suspicious before, but now they knew. They knew Curt wasn't Heinrich, a well connected German thug. Owen had been listening in and he shouted in Curt's ear.
"Get the fuck out of there as fast as you can, Mega. Forget about the mission" But it was too late. All three men had dropped their poisoned beers and were closing in in him. He did the first thing he could think off and took his bottle and threw it at his attackers. The glass simply hit Karl square in the chest and fell to the ground with a shatter. Marcus, or was it Victor, picked him up by his jacket and began to shake him violently. Curt squirmed, trying to weasel out of his clutches.
"Use your training, I'll be in soon. Don't worry. Just-" Owen told him, but the com came falling out or his ear and someone stepped on it, crushing it into pieces. Well, fuck. Time to think on your feet, Mega. Curt wasn't sure if the men would fall for any of his tricks, but it was worth a try.
"Oh thank God, back up!" He shouted, doing his best to point to the door. Luckily, all three men turned and looked. This was his chance. He used all of his strength to propel himself upwards and kicked the thug's chin, sending his head back, and him into the floor. Karl and the remaining man turned to look at him, Curt was now standing and had easy access to his gun. He quickly pulled it out, and before they knew what was happening, another man was down, a bullet in the knee. Only Karl was left. He no longer had the element of surprise, and was unsure what to do as the Russian raised his own gun.
Abruptly, the store room door swung open, and Owen appeared, brandishing a gun. Within a second, he had shot at Karl's legs, sending him down. He nodded at Curt, fairly matter a fact, as if he hadn't just saved his ass.
"I communicated the situation to our superiors and they've sent back up. We should leave this all to them." Owen barely looked at him as Curt stepped over the not yet dead bodies writhing in pain.
"Thanks, for that. I was toast. I don't know how it all went sideways so quickly." He laughed at bit, trying to make light of it all. Owen just scowled slightly.
"No problem, Mega."
By the time they arrived back at the hotel room, Owen had barely said 5 words to Curt, and he was getting fed up. He knew he'd fucked things up a big, but he wasn't dead and they ultimately completed their mission: to subdue the trio and take them into custody.
"Come on Carvour, say something! It wasn't enough of a shit show deserving of the silent treatment." Curt threw his blood stained coat onto the bed and turned to look at his partner. For a moment, Owen said nothing, not facing the American. But, finally he looked up.
"For a moment there I thought you were going to die." He practically whispered, as if he couldn't quite believe what he was saying.
"But I was okay, so it's all good. Don't worry our bosses will put all the blame on me, like always." Curt smiled slightly , waiting for Owen to do the same. Instead, the brit just continued as if he hadn't heard Curt.
"I thought you were going to die and I realized I wouldn't know what to do without you." He began to move across the room, the space between them quickly disappearing. "I realized how that would feel. I realized how I feel." Oh. Oh! The implications of what Owen had said began to dawn on him. All he could manage to say was:
"But you saved me…You saved me and I'm here."
Curt was now standing a few inches apart from Owen, their bodies nearly touching, neither quite sure what to do next. The American reached up and found his hand on Owen's cheek, their touch electric. "Hi…"
Their lips touched, and as they kissed it was if everything made sense, all his doubts and qualms had disappeared. All Curt could think about was him. All Curt needed was him. And, maybe, just maybe … he was all Owen needed too.
Chapter 2: Dancing behind closed doors
June, London- 1953
When Curt turns up on Owen's doorstep one evening, the two men are forced to confront what their relationship means to them.
This is a shorter chapter but I hope you still like it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Curt rang the doorbell apprehensively. He wasn't sure why he had come, but Owen had given him the address and offered. He'd openly invited Curt even, then why did he feel so strange about visiting Owen at his home . They had slept together, goddammit that was far more personal than visiting his apartment. The door swung open with a satisfying creak.
"Curt! What are you doing here?" Owen looked around the corner curiously. "Are you okay?"
"I just happened to be in the neighbourhood, you offered last time we were in Stockholm." What if he took back his offer, maybe he didn't want Curt in his home after all. Owen smiled,
"Come on in, love."
The apartment wasn't exactly the glamourous abode he had expected, but there was something so…Owen about the place. It was somehow both a disaster and neat. In one corner there was a stack of books, in another a dying plant. An aroma of tea filled the air as the two men stepped inside. "Tea?" He gestured to the just-boiled kettle. Curt scoffed as he sat down on one of the two beige chairs.
"Don't you Brits understand the joy of coffee." He was met with a smirk as Owen rustled through some disorganized cupboards.
"Will whisky do?" He brought it to the table along with a cup of tea. Curt raised his eyebrows.
"No glass for me?" Owen sat himself down, pouring a generous glug of bourbon into his teacup.
"I assumed you brought a flask, love." He took a gentle sip from his teacup then looked back up at Curt. "Why are you in London anyways? I'm guessing it's not for the upcoming coronation of dear Lizzie." The American smirked again, taking out his flask and filling it with the Bourbon. “Waste of money if I do say so myself, as if the agency isn’t lacking in resources.”
"Not a royalist, Owen? She's technically your boss isn't she?" Owen rolled his eyes playfully, grinning across the table.
"Churchill too, and Eisenhower's yours, but we both know how you feel about him." They raised their respective beverages.
"Fuck Eisenhower!" And lightly knocked them together.
With a chuckle, Owen stood up, slowly making his way to the battered radio in the corner of the room. He fiddled around with the dials for a moment, deciding on an upbeat tune.
"Wanna' dance ?" Curt discarded his flask on the table and got up to join Owen.
The pair danced in silence, song after song. Finally, Owen spoke. “I missed you, It’s been far too long since we last had a mission.” He smiled at Curt, as they swayed to the music, now a slow, mournful tune.
“Why do we have to restrict ourselves to missions.It wouldn’t be seen as strange, agents can be friends after all.” They stopped dancing,Owen seemed uncomfortable.
“But we’re not…” His words faded into silence as Curt tensed. Then, finally he spoke, quietly at first almost a whisper.
"Then, what are we? Casual acquaintances, co-workers, lovers?" His voice got louder as he pulled away from Owen. "I tried to act as if this was just some fling. But goddammit Owen, it's been nearly a year." Curt sighed, sat back down and took a big swig from his flask. The brit stood awkwardly for a second before he joined Curt at the table. The music played on, filling the silence. Finally, Curt tucked his flask into his jacket and got up to leave. It seemed both urgent and reluctant as if his body both needed to leave and stay. He knew it was a bad idea to come here after all a spy should always trust their gut. "See you in Strasbourg then." Curt started to open the door.
"Partners, we're partners, love. In every sense of the word." Owen had stood up, walked over to the door and pulled on Curt's hand. He immediately shut the door, and the two men stood awkwardly, holding hands. “I thought you wouldn’t want to label it, we both know how dangerous this is.We didn’t plan for this to last so long.”
“Did you want it to last ?” Curt pulled away.
“Of course. I love you, you know that?” Owen took the American’s hand again and started dancing to the music. And sure, they knew the risks, they knew outside that door, there was a world not yet ready, but as they danced everything was serene.
The reference to Eisenhower mogjt become very relevant in a later chapter...
Also for a timeline, I imagine Curt being 31-32, so their both in their early twenties here.