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Toulouse

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Owen Carvour was an enigma.

Curt Mega thought as much on their first mission together. His agency and M16 partnered together to get rid of a mutual enemy, usual story. They needed two agents with little history together to properly sell the cover story that'd been cooked up, so he'd been paired with Carvour.

Owen was slightly taller than him, thin but muscled, with long hair he kept slicked back with just the right amount of gel. The minute Curt saw him, he thought, god he's handsome, before bashing himself for the thought.

You can't think that about other men.

It was an undercover mission, too; a long-con. They stayed at that goddamned Casino for a month, and Curt was uncomfortable for a good week or two.

"For god's sake, Mega," or "You're going to be the death of me," became Owen's favourite catchphrases. He remembered his 'partner' rolling his eyes at him repeatedly, scolding him for stupid decisions, pointing out the obvious things Curt had been blind to. His demeanour was exactly what Cynthia wanted from her agents; detached, logical, unflappable. Carvour was a machine, powering through the steps of their job like it was second nature.

After a week, Curt had become fed-up with him. He dragged Carvour to the bar, and started talking. Not about anything in particular, just... talking. That was the first time he saw a genuine smile on his face, not a cocky smirk. Over the next few weeks, they slowly evolved from a sort of detached exasperation to... friends? Almost friends. Pretty close to it.

The next time Owen said "You'll be the death of me," he could feel the light-hearted teasing dripping from the words. It was a nice change.

Their next mission together had been about 2 months afterwards. That had gone to shit very quickly. Owen had done his best to cheer Curt up that following day, taking him on a tour of the local city. He still remembered the way his partner lit up when Curt started smiling at him.

At that moment, he realised he thought of Owen Carvour as more than just handsome.

It would never happen, and Curt knew that. It was wrong, and Owen would be almost as disgusted with him as he was if he knew. The thought of Owen hating him was too much to handle, so they remained friends. Friends was what they were supposed to be.

Though their latest cock-up of a mission wouldn't help him on that front.

 

***

 

When Owen had got the news, he'd cursed. Not out of hatred, or annoyance, but frustration. Frustration that he'd have to battle his rampant feelings for far too much time.

He knew he loved the arrogant, brash, handsome Curt Mega the minute he saw his smile after that second mission. It wasn't his first time around the rodeo with love, and he was forced to admit that this would never happen. The last time was planned; he'd found Andrew at a gay bar, after all. Only lasted two months anyway.

Curt was unlikely to love him. Most likely, he would loose all respect for Owen if he knew. He'd watched his partner flirt with that girl on this mission. Watched the way she fell for him instantly, blurting the information they needed without prompting. It's for the mission, he told himself, he doesn't actually care for her.

What good the mission was, anyway. They'd fucked it up, and the message had come through; Safe-house has been arranged, wait for further instructions.

The predicted amount of time they would have to spend here was a month. At least.

So now he was stuck in a safe-house with the man he loved for a month. In fucking Toulouse.

Great.

Owen woke up to find himself hugging his spare pillow again. He couldn't control the fact that he was a hugger, even asleep (especially asleep, apparently). It was too embarrassing for him to reveal to Curt, for obvious reasons. He would not be able to handle the endless teasing that would ensue.

He carefully slicked his hair back before going to find Curt, who'd started pacing around the living room anxiously. The man was an adrenaline junkie, and Owen had hidden all the alcohol to prevent him slipping back into those self-destructive habits, so he was clearly bored out of his mind. God, he wanted nothing more than to wrap his arms around him, help him calm down, talk and laugh together-

Nope, can't do that. Owen carefully shoved that desire into the corner.

Curt and Owen had been trained differently. The American's trained Curt more like a soldier; he was great at fighting, with a gun (though only at short range; he’d need a specialised rifle for long range), a blade, or just his hands. He knew which pressure-points to hit, which bones to break, which muscles to damage, to defeat his opponent swiftly. His grasp of human anatomy was frankly astonishing, and he delighted in teaching Owen about different pressure points to hit in close-combat to disable your opponent when they had time to spare.

Owen had been trained more... psychologically, you could say. What tells a person would give when they lied, how to completely absorb yourself into a character, assimilating into a crowd seamlessly. One of these all important techniques was emotions; he'd learnt to compartmentalise his mind, suppressing unwanted or potentially distracting feelings that could compromise his cover. He'd never done it outside of work before, but this was an exception. He wouldn't survive Curt hating him for his love, and he couldn't give the game away around him. So, this was the only option.

"You alright, love?"

Part of him hoped Curt would notice the slight change in tone when Owen used a pet name around him, would realise that he was the exception, that Owen used the names for him more than anyone else. Then, the rational part of his brain scolded him for thinking Curt might be different than the others.

"Fine, Owen," Curt sighed. "Just... thinking."

"Thinking of what?"

He hesitated. "It's stupid, don't worry about it."

Owen nodded, heart falling. He knew the signs; Curt had probably fallen for that girl he flirted with before. Not unusual for a spy, but still; not the greatest for the ego.

 

Curt finally plonked himself onto the couch. How much time had he spent moping about Owen? How many times had his mind flashed back to Owen's face when he returned from uncomfortably flirting with that girl? Too much time, he'd decided.

And now he was sitting next to Owen. Shit.

He'd buried himself into a book. The embossed cover read The Final Problem, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. "Is that a Sherlock Holmes book?"

Owen looked up at him, a small smile on his face. "Yes. The one where he dies, actually."

Curt gave him a surprised glance. "He dies?!"

"Well, he was supposed too, but the readers literally rioted. Wore black bands in the streets, so Doyle was forced to bring him back."

"Wow... I didn't know fans could be that crazy."

Owen chuckled. "Neither did I, dear, but people have a funny way of surprising you."

He slowly closed the book, still looking at Curt. "You know, I think we're a little like Holmes and Watson."

Curt groaned. "You're going to say your the cool, handsome, suave Sherlock Holmes and that i'm the tag-along sidekick Watson, aren't you?"

"You don't have to put it like that, Curt!"

He smiled. "Well, I think I agree with you. Only Holmes could have an ego as big as yours!"

"Oh, you take that back!" Owen laughed, smacking him with the book.

"Not in a million years, old boy!"

He grinned back softly. "I was going to say that you remind me of Watson because everyone thinks he's dumb-"

"-oh, thats flattering, that is-"

"-but he's actually just as intelligent as Holmes, just in different fields. He plays the role of the half-wit, but thats just it; a role. He stays with Sherlock because of the adventure, the adrenaline of it all. He's an incredibly empathetic, remarkable man that keeps his partner grounded at all times. A constant in his life, and a wonderful... friend."

Owen looked uncomfortable, like he'd just fucked something up. Curt realised, with a twang, that he'd been steadily leaning closer to Owen as they'd talked, to the point where he was basically falling on him.

Shit. Shit. Shit shit shit shit-

Curt recoiled instantly, avoiding Owen's likely questioning gaze. "That's, er, kinda sweet," he tried, hoping to reel the situation back in.

You're an idiot, Mega. That just makes you sound like the dumb faggot you are. Get your head in the fucking game. He deserves a proper life, with the woman of his dreams, untainted by sodomy. He doesn't deserve to be lusted over by the likes of me. He'll hate me if he finds out; who wouldn't? Stop fooling yourself.

Owen’s eyes said it all. The confusion, the fear, the snap of realisation. He would figure out what Curt was by the end of the day, would know what just happened.

He couldn't do it, couldn't sit here, couldn't stay in the same room as Owen. Curt couldn't continue to do this to him.

There was no other way to put it; he ran.

 

***

 

Owen paced around the kitchen frantically. Curt had been avoiding him ever since he scarpered that morning, and he was terrified he'd done something wrong.

Who was he kidding; he practically almost admitted his feelings to Curt, catching himself at the last second. Owen had fooled himself into thinking Curt was making a move on him. In all likelihood, he'd started leaning in to better hear him, and he'd gone and cocked it up. Curt had recoiled instantly, basically bolted out of the room.

He sighed; this couldn't keep going on like this. He was going to find Curt and try to smooth things over.

Curt had curled himself up on the bed, looking suspiciously cat-like. Owen cleared his throat, causing the American to bolt upright; his eyes were red and puffy, still rimmed with tears.

Owen felt himself die a little. What did I do wrong?

"Go away, Carvour," Curt sniffled, "I know you don't want me around."

"Why on earth would you think that, dear?"

"Don't," he hissed, "don't mock me with those stupid fucking pet names."

He could feel his heart shrivelling inside his chest. Why was he acting like this? Was he really that hateful of it? It shouldn’t surprise him, really, everyone’s hateful of people like him, but...

“Curt, what are you-“

”Don’t play dumb!” he shouted. “You’re smart; you would’ve figured it out by now.”

”Figured what out?” Owen bit back, struggling to keep the betrayal out of his voice. He knew what was about to happen. He knew the spiel, the hatred, the fighting that was about to break out.

Curt scoffed harshly, tears flowing down his face now. “You really want to make me say it?”

He held his breath, waiting for the impact.

”I’m a fucking homosexual, alright?! You happy now?!!”

Owen froze.

”...what?”

The hurt in Curt’s voice was palpable. “You know what I mean, Carvour! A faggot, a sodomite, a pervert, whatever!”

Curt collapsed back onto the bed, fully sobbing now.

”I-I get it! I’m wrong, I know I am! It’s disgusting and perverted, but it- it doesn’t feel like that, it feels so real- and I just don’t know anymore! I keep thinking that maybe it’s okay, but it isn’t! I know it isn’t, and I-I-“

This was all too familiar too him. The nights spent questioning himself, knowing that he wasn’t ‘in the right’; asking himself, what’s wrong with me?

He’d struggled with it for so long, and now the man he loved was breaking down in front of him. He had to do something.

"Curt," he began, sitting besides him. His partner refused to meet his eyes.

"Go on, then. T-tell me I'm being stupid. It doesn't matter."

He finally looked up at Owen. "I'm already in love with you."

Owen wasn't a words person. He simply didn't know what to say; there were no 'magic words' that could comfort someone. Most of the time, the words didn't even register. Talking wasn't going to help, so he used his actions instead. Right now, he was pulling Curt into a tentative hug, not wanting to set him off further. Sometimes physical contact didn't help either.

He melted into the touch, only pausing to look up at Owen in confusion. "Wh-what are you doing?" he asked, almost afraid. Owen's words were failing him, so he gently cupped the other's cheek instead, hoping beyond hope that his partner would realise what was happening, what he meant, what he wanted.

"Owen?"

Curt leaned further in to him, eyes wide and questioning. It didn't take him long to see a tiny spark deep within them; hope.

Oh, fuck it, Owen thought, closing the distance between them swiftly.

He kissed Curt, pouring everything he couldn't say into it. His heart leapt as Curt reciprocated, deepening the kiss, fingers tangling in Owen's hair. The tears now on both of their faces didn't matter, the pain didn't matter anymore. He was kissing Curt Mega, and Curt Mega was kissing him back.

They finally pulled away, and the English language came back to Owen with the strike of a lightning bolt.

"You're not the only gay one here, Curt," he breathed softly, giddiness slowly taking over his system. Holy shit I kissed him I actually did it-

"Wait, you're-" Curt began, eyes flitting over Owen as he began to process what just happened, and what it meant.

"I'm in love with you," Owen practically laughed, pulling the other into a tight hug. "I have been for years, and I never thought this would happen."

He could feel Curt smile into his chest, arms snaking around Owen in return. "I... I can't believe it," he muttered helplessly.

"Neither can I, love."

Owen pulled away, hands moving to grip Curt's shoulders as he looked his partner (boyfriend? lover?) dead in the eye.

"Promise me," he hissed, all joking put behind him, "that you will never use those words again. Not to yourself, not to anyone else. There is nothing wrong with you."

"B-but I-" Curt started.

"Listen; do you think i'm wrong? Do you hate me?"

Curt batted Owen's arms away from his shoulders, looking at him incredulously. "Of course not, Owen! You're so- I mean- just look at you!"

He sighed, crossing his hands in front of him. "It's okay to be like this. We're here for a month, right?"

His partner nodded, still staring.

"I'm going to try and help you, okay?" and that's all he could say. He didn't know how bad it was, if Curt would even be comfortable being in a relationship with him at this point. Hell, he didn't even know if Curt wanted a relationship; maybe he wanted something less committed. Owen wasn't going to force him into anything.

Just as he thought this, however, Curt curled up on his shoulder. "So, I like you, and you like me, and that kiss felt like the best thing that's ever happened to me, so..."

He stared up at Owen with big eyes. "Date me?"

So much for that train of thought. Owen chuckled lightly, arms coiling around his partner once more. "You're going to be the death of me, love."

The affection pouring from the words only said one thing; Yes.

 

***

 

It took a little while for things to settle down in Curt's head. The facts had presented themselves to him, and he couldn't ignore them anymore.

1. Owen loved him. Not a best-friend type of love, not the 'expected' type of love, but love love. The he literally kissed me holy shit kind of love. It took Curt... longer than he would've liked to return it. Every time he tried to sit with Owen, to talk to him, to just be with him, some distant, ingrained part of his mind screamed at him. Telling him how wrong this was. Repeating the words that'd been drilled into his head. But the thing is, once he managed to actually interact with the guy he was dating now... it felt good. Too good for that stupid voice to ruin it. It was probably off having a tantrum somewhere in his subconscious, and he didn't care.

2. Being with Owen had, so far, been the best experience of his life. It wasn't just Owen causing this, though; Curt felt like he could actually be himself around his partner. A feeling that was worryingly new, as had been pointed out to him. Owen didn't force anything, either. The first night, they'd slept with a barrier pillow, just in case he had a bad reaction to all this. He listened as Curt talked, helped him figure out his feelings. He didn't think his love for this man could possibly grow, but grow it did. Which brought him to the next point;

3. Owen Carvour was fucking adorable.

That barrier pillow? Well, when Curt woke up the next morning, he found his newly anointed lover snuggled into it to the point where his face was almost completely hidden. Owen had then explained (through copious amounts of embarrassed blushing) that he was a serial cuddle-er, and usually ended up hugging whatever object was nearest as he slept. Curt, positively delighted at this phenomenon, may have dragged Owen into a marathon of every TV show their safe-house had to offer. The minute Owen started tiring, he curled his arms around Curt before drawing back instinctively.

"Are you... okay with this?"

Curt scoffed. "What, hugging? Go ahead, Owen."

His partner raised an eyebrow at him. "You sure?"

He sighed, dragging Owen closer. "Yeah."

The brit paused, then shrugged. "Okay then," he said, then immediately wrapped himself around Curt.

From that point onwards, Curt consistently woke up in his partner's arms, and blessed whatever God there was that he'd found a man as perfect as this.

Owen also liked to play with Curt's hair. The first time he felt the gentle fingers carding through it, he literally melted into Owen, causing him to chuckle softly.

He'd decided to pick up some of Owen's tendencies, just to see how he'd react. It turns out that making this man blush was possibly the easiest task in the world.

First was the pet names. They'd increased in frequency, and Owen had sprinkled in some new ones for flavour. His favourites were 'love', any variation of 'dear' (my dear, dearest), and 'darling'. All very sappy, all very posh, all very British. In conclusion, all very Owen. Curt had decided to try out his own brand of pet names, just to see how it felt.

The first happened a week after the initial kiss. Owen had walked into the living room, carrying two mugs full of hot liquid. "Figured you might want something to lift the spirits, love," he said calmly, placing one of them in front of Curt. He'd smiled in response.

"Thanks, babe."

The only words he could think of to describe Owen's reaction was short circuit. He practically froze on the spot, cheeks burning brighter than the sun outside. Curt had a good laugh at that reaction, which elicited a tiny 'shut up' from his partner.

The next time, they were sharing the couch, binging bad French soap operas. "Love you, hun," he'd whispered, quickly followed by another laugh as Owen darted to bury his reddening face in Curt's shoulder. This, of course, was followed by, "what's wrong, doll?"

He got tickled mercilessly for that one.

The final time was in the morning. Owen was hugging him, as usual, when he finally woke up. "Morning, sweetheart," Curt whispered. His lover was completely caught off guard, clearly not expecting a pet name the minute he came to. He retaliated by pressing a kiss to Curt's head, causing him to instantly melt. "I win," he grinned smugly.

That put an end to the pet name experiment, or so he thought.

Dying sunlight bled through the once-white curtains, bathing them in the remainders of the day's warmth. They were cuddled vertically on the couch, Owen draped on top of Curt. Neither found this arrangement uncomfortable.

"They'll come for us soon, love."

"I know. I just wish we had more time."

"Me too."

Owen sighed, lifting his head from where it was snuggled into Curt's neck. This was met with a small whine of disapproval, which Owen rolled his eyes at. 

"I have an idea."

Curt smiled. "What's that, hun?"

The blush wasn't as all-powerful as it was the first time he'd used it. "Well, since you're so into sappy romance stories-"

"-Hey, you said you liked the chocolates!-"

"-I propose a contest."

He raised an eyebrow at the Brit, who smiled mischievously.

"Whoever has the cheesiest love confession wins."

Curt laughed at that. "Oh, you're on, you limey bastard. I'll go first."

He swear he could see Owen pale at this, and put a generous amount of effort to prevent more laughter from leaving him. "Okay then..."

His hand moved up, gently tucking strands of Owen's long hair behind his hair, one by one, as he talked.

"You are my doll, my baby, my sugar, my honey, my sweet, the light of my life..."

It surfaced gently in his mind, the final blow, a devastating attack to blow any other attempts out of the water. "My heart."

Owen giggled, actually giggled, into his shoulder. "Is that all you've got?"

"You think you can do better?" Curt gasped, deeply offended. His partner smirked. "Obviously. Now, let's see..."

He began to gently trace his finger along Curt's face.

"You are my love, my dearest, my darling, my light, my soul..."

The smile widened. 

"My Curt."

He felt his face light up, and Owen chuckled from above him. "Fine," Curt muttered saltily, "Fine. You win this time, Carvour."

"And we both thought you were the sappy one," he hummed, re-burying himself into Curt's chest.

The next day, they got the message; they were going back home.

"Don't die on me," Curt joked as they slowly packed up, "would be a bummer if I only had a boyfriend for a month."

"Only if you don't, love."

"Fair enough."

Curt was confident they'd see each other again, though. The only spy coming close to Owen's ability was him, and there was no way he'd be a danger to his partner (unless counting the possible damages of continuous eye-rolls).

He slept soundly on the plane back to America. Whatever lay in store for him when he got back didn't matter now; he had much better things to think about.