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Blooming in the Darkness

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curt had dozed off for a while, before being awoken by the sound of the door opening. he turned to the man beside him, finding him to be asleep.

curt found his mother at the door, looking at the two of them fondly. curt gently removed his hand from owen's as he got off of the bed and moved towards his mother.

he moved past her as she shut door behind him. "mom? did you need something?" curt asked, looking at her in confusion.

mrs. mega smiled softly and shook her head. "no, curtis, i didn't need anything. but if you can spare the time, i did want to talk to you."

"about what?"

"about you and owen. i know that there's something deeper than friendship going on between you two. i'd like to know about it." at curt's worried gaze, she continued. "curtis, i don't care what it is that is happening here; i'd just like to know."

curt's worry eased away into a more neutral expression. "can we talk somewhere else? maybe the kitchen?" his mother nodded, and they moved there.

the two of them sat down at the kitchen table after mrs. mega grabbed them both a glass of water. curt sipped at his for a moment, thinking about how he should start this conversation.

"i hated him at first," curt said, looking down at his glass. he could see his mother's surprise in her eyes as he continued. "we were partnered up on a mission in france. it was just a simple in-and-out, grab some blueprints and leave kind of mission. we completed it without any errors. it would have been perfect if owen hadn't seemed like such a cocky bastard. he was incredibly calculating and precise, and he acted like he was one hundred percent certain in every move he made. it was at least a little bit infuriating, especially since i was never that confident in my own abilities. i didn't let that show outwardly, but it still affected me. i don't really have any doubts that owen hated me at first, too, and most likely for similar reasons."

curt took a sip of his water before looking up at his mother.

"so what happened to change that?" mrs. mega asked, also taking a drink.

curt remembered exactly what had happened to change his feelings. he started speaking with a small smile on his face. "it was about a year into our partnership. we were on a mission in wales. it was near the town that owen had been grown up in until his family moved to london. owen made some small, off-hand comment about wanting to go back there one day, and i suggested we go visit it. owen seemed surprised at my suggestion, most likely because we weren't that close to each other. nonetheless, he agreed and we went to the next town over after we finished our mission. it was only about a ten or fifteen minute walk, and on the way over, we talked for a while. we talked about a lot of things, from our childhoods to things that made us nostalgic. it was the first time that i didn't see owen as just a cocky, know-it-all bastard. i think it also helped owen see that i wasn't as bad as he had previously thought. it helped us grow closer, both as partners and friends." curt ended the story with a wistful look in his eyes and a slightly bigger smile on his face.

mrs. mega also had a smile on her face as she took a drink from her glass. it was clear that her son had deeply fallen for owen. she cleared her throat slightly before speaking. "so when did you two become... more than friends?"

curt's smile grew even wider as he laughed softly. "it was in berlin. owen and i had just made a new record escape, and we were both still riding that adrenaline high. i was super happy that we had both made it out of there alive, but it also made me think about how our lives could easily end at any moment. i made a promise to myself that that night i would confess my feelings to owen. i didn't know how he would react for sure, but i was so hopeful that i didn't care much. i didn't really think anything bad would come from it, other than maybe our interactions being a bit awkward. obviously, nothing bad came from that night. we got back to our hotel room, because we were sharing one due to budget cuts, and we both took a shower. owen was sitting in his bed reading a book, and the light of the lamp was shining on his face just perfectly and i couldn't contain my feelings any longer. i went over, sat down at the end of his bed, and confessed. i didn't look at him the entire time, because i was so worried that he would reject me. when i finished, i could hear the rustling of sheets and felt the bed dip beside me. he pulled my face to his and kissed me. then he confessed in his own way. we kissed a few more times and ended up holding each other for the rest of the night."

mrs. mega almost didn't believe her eyes. curt was smiling more than she had seen him smile in a long time. he was smiling as much as he did before owen fell. mrs. mega remembered how much curt had grieved and how hard it had been for him to get back to work. she had speculated for a while that there was more than a friendship between the two of them, but she was glad that her son had someone to love as deeply as he did. she set down her glass and moved to stand by curt and hug him. "i'm glad you've found someone to love as deeply as you do," she whispered.

"so am i," curt replied, his voice slightly muffled due to having his face pressed into his mother's shoulder.

"oh! i almost forgot," mrs. mega said, pulling away from the hug. she dug into a pocket to retrieve a small book. "this was on the floor in owen's room. i assume it fell out of his jacket at some point. you should probably give it back to him." she handed him the small book and turned to leave. "i'll let you get back to owen, curtis." with that, she left the kitchen, presumably heading back to her own room.

curt downed the last of his water before standing. he turned the book over his hands, looking at the cover. the cover was brown with small flecks of gold all over it. there was no inscription or markings on the outside that would note anything. with that, curt made his way back to owen's room, hoping to return before owen woke.