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Blooming in the Darkness

Chapter Text

they once again were on a staircase. though this time, owen was staring down at curt with as much hatred and anger he could muster. beneath the watery look, curt’s eyes were like steel. both men had their guns drawn, pointing them at the other.

after a couple seconds, owen finally started talking, sounding slightly out of breath. “time to take your final bow, curt.”

“my team is destroying your island facility as we speak,” curt replied, laughing slightly, “your surveillance network is fried. there’ll be no encore tonight... for you.”

owen had a certain glint in his eyes that curt couldn’t decipher as owen lowered his gun and gestured with it. “perhaps you’ve destroyed that island facility, but what of the others?”

curt’s arm wavered a bit at that. “there’s more?”

“how does it feel to know that you’ll never catch up with us?”

curt lowered his gun as he started to say, “it’s not too late to fix this. if you agree to give up chimera, i’m sure the agency can pull some strings-“

curt was cut off by owen shouting. “you still don’t see, do you curt?! there won’t be any agency to go back to once the system is global! i’m going to single-handedly destroy everything you’ve ever believed in!”

curt looked up at sadly as owen returned his gun to its original position. “we used to share those beliefs. think of the missions we served, the lives we saved, the impact we had on this world... together. two of the greatest spies to ever live, and you considerate that, and you look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t believe we’re making a difference!”

owen’s voice almost sounded sad when he spoke again. “the future is happening, curt, and it won’t wait for you. what use will one man be, when a box in a room can do his job in seconds, huh?”

curt slightly smiled despite himself. “sounds boring.”

owen had lowered his gun again. “you’re a caveman, and i’ve invented fire.”

curt didn’t feel anything other than sadness. it was almost overwhelming. his voice wavered as he said, “i’ll stop you.”

“you’ll do your best. once a spy, always a spy. forever, whatever. the warmest hello to the coldest goodbye, remember.” owen clicked the safety off of his gun before continuing, “i remember. spies never die.” he laughed a little bit stronger this time, his gun returning to its position aiming at curt’s head.

at this point, curt had turned away from owen and was looking down towards the floor of the facility. it looked so deeply similar to the one they had been in when owen fell all those years ago. curt briefly wondered if owen led him here on purpose before owen spoke again.

“a new world awaits us, curt. a world without agencies, a world without spies, a world without secrets.”

“some secrets aren’t yours to share,” he replied, his voice taking on a sad tone. curt turned to look back up at owen. “what about our secret? the time we shared, the feelings we had...” curt moved up a step as he continued, “for each other. are you ready to share that with the world?”

owen’s arm wavered slightly, shifting so he was aiming at curt’s heart rather this head. owen looked like he was thinking about it, before he readjusted his aim. he spoke firmly albeit sadly when he said, “that secret died the night you left me for dead.”

curt shifted his eyes to the ground, saying, “clearly.”

“here’s some advice, curt. it’s called moving on. do give it a try.” as owen spoke, curt turned to move back down the stairs.

with one swift motion, curt turned and shot owen’s gun out of his hand. owen looked slightly shocked and confused. curt’s gun was aimed right between owen’s eyes.

“you know, killing me won’t take the system offline, so... what are you doing?”

curt had made up his mind. he didn’t know this new owen as well he wished he did, but he still loved him. owen had looked shocked at first, but now he just looked resigned. his eyes held the look of a man who knew his death was rapidly approaching and had stopped fighting it. owen had accepted curt was going to kill him. curt couldn’t have imagined how much that would hurt him. he knew what he had to do.

curt quickly moved and fired at owen’s knee. the other man cried out as the bullet entered and as he fell to the ground. curt hit him over the head with his gun, effectively knocking owen out of consciousness. now he just had to figure out where to go next.

Chapter Text

curt had finally arrived at his mother’s safe house. he knocked on the door, and his mother answered soon after. she grinned widely when she saw curt, but her face darkened seeing the man curt was carrying over his shoulder.

“hi, mom. can i come in?” curt asked sheepishly. his mother nodded, opening the door wider to let the two men through it.

“curtis, what happened? is that owen?”

“it’s a long story that i promise to tell you later, and yes. this is owen. is the spare bedroom available?”

his mom nodded again, before seeing the blood dripping down curt’s leg. “curtis, you’re bleeding! are you okay? do you want me to get you some bandages and disinfectant?”

curt absentmindedly nodded, before adding, “the blood’s coming from owen, not me, ma. i’m... i’m fine.”

mrs. mega looked at him dubiously, before nodding ever so slightly and leaving to get the medical supplies. that left curt to get owen to the spare bedroom.

owen still hadn’t awoken, which was slightly concerning considering how long it had been, but curt was grateful that he didn’t need to knock owen out again.

he carefully laid owen down on the bed, removing the belt he had used as makeshift handcuffs before putting on actual handcuffs. he made sure that owen was positioned so that he wouldn’t rub his wrists raw but also that he couldn’t easily escape. owen’s wounded knee wouldn’t help in that endeavor anyway.

his mother returned with the medical supplies before leaving again. curt could hear her shuffling around in the kitchen, presumably making food for them. curt sighed, before removing the tourniquet that he had made from the bottom of owen’s pant leg. once that was done, he got to work. he prepped what he needed to remove the bullet from owen’s knee and quickly did the deed. owen shifted, softly moaning in pain. curt checked, but owen was still not awake.

curt was growing increasingly worried by how long owen was unconscious. his worry was calmed for a bit when owen moved, but it picked up again with ease. why was it taking this long. it had been at least fourteen hours since curt knocked him out. curt shook his head, trying to clear out the thoughts so he could effectively clean and bandage owen’s wound. he could worry later. for now, he had a job to do.

Chapter Text

it was steadily approaching sixteen hours that owen had been unconscious. curt was sitting in a chair beside his bed, hoping that the brit would wake up soon.

curt would think that owen was dead if it wasn’t for the slight rise and fall of his chest.

curt had shifted so that his head was in his hands, his elbows on his knees. his eyes were shut, because he was trying to get his thoughts to shut up. he couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen if he made a mistake. what if he had misinterpreted owen’s reaction to curt bringing up their secret?

then he heard the slightest change in owen’s breathing.

owen was awake.

curt lifted his head slowly, only to meet owen’s eyes. the look in owen’s eyes almost made him flinch away. they were so hard and unyielding, even now as he lay injured and handcuffed to the bed. curt swore that owen was the most stubborn man he had ever met.

“why?” owen asked, voice laced with barely contained anger.

“why what?” curt replied, face displaying the confusion he felt.

owen attempted to shift so that he was sitting upright, glaring at curt when he tried to help. once owen was in a sitting position, panting ever-so-slightly, he spoke again. his voice held more anger than before, along with some other emotion that curt couldn’t place. was it sadness? confusion?

“why didn’t you kill me?”

curt gaped at him, as if the answer was obvious. to him, it was. deep down, curt still loved and cared for owen.

“why would i do that?”

“because my mission was to either kill you or be killed by you. with these results, i failed.” owen’s face was set in stone, but his eyes blazed with anger. both knew that neither of them were okay with failure, even if it was a suicide mission.

“well, that’s how this one is ending. i’m not going to kill you, and you’re in no place or condition to be killing me.”

owen looked down and saw the blob of bandages on his knee. owen’s voice had quieted, slightly laced with fear, when he spoke. “how much damage?”

“less than expected. your kneecap is most likely still intact, the bullet has been removed, and the wound has been cleaned.”

owen nodded in acknowledge, before attempting to move so he was lying down. he was doing fine until he cried out in pain. curt automatically jumped up to help him, and owen very reluctantly allowed it. owen’s eyes were clouded with pain, and for a moment curt thought owen might cry. he realized owen was squeezing his eyes shut, as if he was trying to hold back tears.

curt silently sighed, before heading out of the room with a slightly audible click of the door.

Chapter Text

owen was not doing okay. first, the fall and all of the pain and recovery that had happened to him. second, chimera torturing him only to find him useful to their cause. third, him becoming integrated into chimera almost unwillingly, although that soon changed. fourth, finding that curt was the spy he was going against on his latest mission. finally, curt shooting him in the knee instead of the head. couldn’t curt see he’d been in enough pain?

owen heard the door shut and opened his eyes to find himself alone. he finally let himself cry. it was probably the first time since the fall that he had actually cried. he sobbed awful, loud, heaving cries.

it took a while for owen to stop crying, but when he did, he felt slightly ashamed. why was he breaking down now of all times? he was stuck with his ex-lover in a safe house. owen knew that curt likely wouldn’t do anything to hurt him further. so why was he so panicked about being here?

owen couldn’t answer that question before he heard the door being opened again. he tried to lift his head to see who it was, but he wasn’t able to lift it enough. soon enough, curt came around the side of his bed, carrying a small plate of food. it looked like a sandwich and a handful of crisps.

curt set down the plate of food before coming over to help owen move into a sitting position. owen glared at him the entire time but allowed the other man to help him regardless. once owen was situated, curt looked at him questioningly, silently contemplating something. he eventually decided and pulled a key out of his pocket.

curt unlocked one handcuff, latching it onto the bedpost. he moved to the table and handed the plate of food to owen. then he left, leaving owen alone to eat in silence.

***

curt sat in his room on his bed. he was alone, thinking in silence. too many thoughts were swirling around in his head.

did he do the wrong thing? should he have killed owen instead? curt knows what owen’s stance is on the matter. owen wishes that he was dead instead of practically helpless due to a wounded knee.

he thinks he did the right thing, but nothing he comes up with feels like it is.

curt just wants to know what owen feels for him.

Chapter Text

curt walked into owen’s room, feeling a little awkward being there. he noticed owen had finished eating, so he took the plate and set it on the table. he silently exhaled before sitting down on the bed next to owen. he could sense owen bristling beside him, but stayed facing the other way for a moment. he took another breath, then turned to face the brit.

owen’s eyes still looked like steel. they almost seemed colder than they had before, although curt didn’t know how that was possible. curt stared at him for a moment before speaking. “do you feel anything for me?”

owen quietly scoffed before answering. “i thought i’d made it quite clear that i hate you. i hate you for leaving me in that facility to die, for leaving me to end up in the hands of chimera, for everything that has happened. i blame you for all of it.

and do you know what the worst part of it all is?” owen looked at him with a fire in his eyes, and that same fire was laced through his voice. “i waited for you. i waited so long for you to come and save me. i remember hearing someone sifting through the rubble and thinking that you had come back, but it was just the beginning of the chimera agents. i waited so long for you to find me and get me out of chimera’s facility, but you never did. that’s the worst of it.”

curt realized his eyes were burning, and he blinked as he tried not to cry. curt looked down at his lap before responding. “i couldn’t tell if you were dead or alive. i desperately wanted it to be the latter, but i couldn’t see you breathing. i thought you’d died on impact,” curt looked upward, staring into owen’s eyes as tears began to well up, “i figured that you would want at least one of us to make it out of there alive.”

owen watched as a tear fell, and curt wiped it away. he looked down at his hand in his lap. what was he thinking? what was going through his head?

“that doesn’t change my feelings, even if it’s reasonable. i still resent you for all that happened to me,” owen said, voice barely above a whisper.

curt nodded slightly, before whispering, “i understand.” with that, curt stood and left the room.

curt could hear owen softly crying once the door was closed behind him.

Chapter Text

owen didn’t know how to feel after that confrontation. on one hand, owen understood what curt had said and knew that it was reasonable. on the other hand, it was still curt’s fault. if curt hadn’t knock down the railing or left that banana peel, owen wouldn’t have fallen. they would have both made it up the stairs in time.

if curt hadn’t lied and set the timer short, there would’ve been enough time for curt to get owen out of the facility.

owen hadn’t realized that he had started hyperventilating and had curled up into himself. his knee was on fire, but he wasn’t paying attention to it. his main focus was to stop crying and get his breathing under control.

it took a little bit before owen got his breathing back to normal, and it wasn’t long before he fell asleep.

***

mrs. mega had made food and decided to check on owen. she opened the door as quietly as she could, shutting it with care. she noticed that he was curled up with his knees to chest, and that the bandages on his knee looked very bloody. owen had probably torn his stitches. didn’t he know he would do that if he curled up like that? why did owen do that?

mrs. mega set the plate of food down on the bedside table, before moving to the bed. she carefully tried to unfurl owen, so that he was lying on his back with his legs outstretched. she remembered curt telling her that he had left more bandages and thread in the bedside table. she pulled out all of the supplies she would need and set to work.

Chapter Text

the next morning, curt awoke to his mother entering his bedroom. curt turned over to face the wall, not wanting to get up yet.

“curtis? i need to talk to you for a moment.”

he pushed the quilt off him, sitting up and facing his mom. “what do you need, ma?”

his mom looked a little bit unsettled which didn’t sit right with him. finally, she spoke. “owen tore his stitches. i went to give him some food, and i found him curled up with his knees to his chest. his knee was bleeding a lot, and i think i saw tear tracks on his face. i don’t know what happened, but it’s obvious that something did. i thought you should know.”

by now, curt had gotten up and was pulling out clothes. “okay, thanks, ma. i’ll go check on him.” curt’s eyes were downcast as his mother left the room and he continued to get dressed.

he made his way to owen’s room, opening the door quietly. he saw owen lying down on the bed, one hand resting on his stomach. owen appeared to still be sleeping. curt sat down in the chair beside the bed, only to find owen was awake. owen shifted so that he was propped up on an elbow, looking towards curt. his face was mostly blank besides a slight curiosity in his eyes.

curt looked at owen for a moment, wondering how to phrase his question. finally he came out with the words, “how did you tear your stitches?”

owen’s eyebrows furrowed, clearly confused. “what?”

“my mom came into my room this morning and told me that you tore your stitches open. how did you do that?”

owen’s expression didn’t change. if anything, he grew more confused. “i don’t remember tearing them. i would’ve felt that pain, and i don’t remember that at all.”

“maybe you did in your sleep?”

“i don’t think i’d curl up with an injured knee and a wrist handcuffed, curt.”

“then how did it happen?”

curt watched as a small lightbulb went off in owen’s eyes. he mumbled something under his breath that curt didn’t catch. “what?” owen spoke a little bit louder, but it still wasn’t loud enough. curt looked at him inquisitively, before owen practically yelled his answer. “panic attack! i had a fucking panic attack, alright?!” owen’s eyes widened, and he looked away from curt. he fell back down to lying on his back.

curt moved over to owen. curt did his best to speak softer when he asked, “what made you have a panic attack?”

owen mumbled, “your last visit.”

it was curt’s turn to be shocked. “what? why?”

“can we not talk about this, please?”

“fine, alright. we don’t have to talk about it. is there something you’d rather talk about instead?”

owen remained silent, and curt took that as his cue to leave. owen looked like he could very possibly be on the verge of tears. before leaving, curt took the handcuff off from owen’s wrist. with that, he silently exited the room and headed to his own.

Chapter Text

owen didn’t feel good. that much was evident from the tears welling up in his eyes and the rolling of his stomach. the only good thing that had come about was curt undoing his handcuffs. owen wiped at his eyes before sitting up fully.

his legs swung over the side of the bed, and he gingerly attempted to stand. owen kept one hand on the bed and his other on the table beside it. he found that, when he put his weight on his right leg, he could stand.

walking was a completely different story.

curt came rushing into his room almost immediately after owen crashed to the ground. “owen?! what the hell are you doing?!”

curt moved over to help him back into the bed, checking to see if owen had torn his stitches again. miraculously, there wasn’t any blood on the bandages, so curt assumed he hadn’t torn the stitches.

“what were you doing out of bed? you could have seriously hurt yourself, owen!”

“as if i’m not already injured,” owen responded with a roll of his eyes.

“owen, i’m serious. why did you think it was a good idea to do that?”

“i’m tired of being stuck lying and sitting down. i just wanted to get up and walk around a bit. is that such a crime?”

“it is when you got shot in the knee and you’ve given yourself less than two days to recover. you can’t just try and do that, owen.”

owen looked down at his lap, resentment and sadness brewing in his chest.

“give yourself some more time. maybe a week or two. after that, then maybe you can try to walk on it. you probably won’t be able to do that, but just maybe you will. just don’t try to do something like this again, please.”

owen slowly nodded his head before moving to lie down. he turned his back to curt and shut his eyes. he heard curt sigh as he stood and left the room.

owen easily fell into a fitful sleep.

Chapter Text

owen’s dreams were anything but good. he usually didn’t remember his dreams, but he did when they were especially bad. he had been remembering a lot of his dreams after the russian affair.

this one was no exception. he awoke paralyzed, cold sweat and tears dripping down his face. his dream had been of his fall.

even though it had happened four years ago, he could still remember how he felt lying on the ground, broken and bleeding, as he watched curt run away. he thought that he was going to die from the blast and had tried to make peace with it before it happened.

obviously owen didn’t die from the blast, but he wishes that he did.

he wishes that he hadn’t had to experience so much pain from his recovery. he wishes he didn’t have to work for chimera.

well, owen got his wish. just definitely not how he imagined it.

owen lied there on the bed, staring at the ceiling in absolute silence. the only sound was when the door opened and curt walked into the room moments later.

curt wordlessly entered and sat down on the other side of the bed, facing away from owen. owen tries to subtly wipe away his tears before curt turns to him, but of course curt notices anyway.

curt’s expression turns from neutral to one of confusion and... concern?

“owen? what’s wrong?”

owen shakes his head, desperately hoping that curt will just drop it. he doesn’t get his wish.

“no, seriously. why are you crying?” curt asks, having fully turned towards owen.

“nothing that’s of any importance to you.”

“well it’s obviously important to you, so it’s important to me. let’s hear it.”

owen shakes his head before speaking. “just a stupid dream. nothing that i haven’t dealt with before.”

“what was it about?” curt asks, unconsciously shifting closer to owen.

owen’s closes his eyes, squeezing them tightly shut for a moment. when owen speaks, it’s nothing more than a whisper. “the fall.”

“oh.”

owen opens his eyes and looks at curt, immediately regretting his decision. curt looks so guilty, which he should, but why does it hurt to see him like that?

owen shuts his eyes again, taking a deep breath. “yeah.”

the pair are quiet for a few seconds before owen speaks. it’s extremely quiet, barely loud enough for curt to hear. “i wish i had died that night.”

“what?” owen opens his eyes again and is surprised to see curt look terrified.

owen looks down, repeating himself. “i wish i had died that night. that fall... it should’ve killed me.”

“no!”

owen looks at curt, deeply confused. curt looks horrified by the idea that owen wishes he was dead, and owen isn’t sure how to process that. why does he look that way? didn’t he say...?

“why not? you were the one who said you liked me better dead. why don’t you just kill me already?”

curt looks down at his lap, shaking his head slightly. “i shouldn’t have said that. i didn’t understand why you said a lot of things you said then. at least now, i understand better than i did. i know why you hate me, and i completely understand it. hell, i hate me for what happened too. i spent so long wishing that it had been me that fell instead of you. just... please don’t think those things. please don’t think that i wish you were dead, because that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

curt looks up to meet owen’s eyes, tears welling up in curt’s. “and i don’t think that i could ever do that. if it wasn’t already made clear, i’m still in love with you, o. i don’t want to lose you again.” owen looks away abruptly, not being able to continue meeting curt’s gaze. it hurts too much.

“just because you don’t wish me to be dead doesn’t mean that i don’t.”

owen watches from the corner of his eye as a tear falls down curt’s face. the pair are silent for a moment, before curt tentatively reaches out and touches owen’s hand. owen tenses but doesn’t pull his hand away.

“can i...”

owen turns to fully face curt, a slight bit of fear on his face. curt’s expression softens at this and clears his throat. “is it okay if i hold your hand?”

owen looks down at their hands before nodding slightly. curt moves to lie down next to owen, far enough apart to not agitate owen, as he takes owen’s right hand in his left.

they stay like that, quietly lying next to each other while holding hands, until the sun goes down.

Chapter Text

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.