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Curt curses under his breath. It was just like A.S.S. to send him on a mission with a foreigner. Agent Owen Carvour leans against the wall casually, his dark hair slicked back and his bowtie perfectly horizontal at his neck. He winks at Curt and readjustes the cuffs of his tux. An easy smile curves his lips and only Curt’s training keeps a blush from rising in his cheeks. 

MI6 could have done worse, that was for sure. 

Curt tries to regain some of his composure. They have a mission to complete after all. He gazes around the large ballroom once again. No sign of their target.

“You’re acting awful cocky, Mr. Lightfoot,” he says, using the alias for any eavesdropping passerby at the cocktail party. 

Carvour’s smile widens. “How do you know that it’s an act?”

Curt shrugs. He supposes he shouldn’t be too harsh. They all put on an act in their line of work. Still, Carvour’s cover was meant to be his accountant, an occupation not known for their social confidence. It certainly wasn’t the approach he would have taken.  He’d only met the man yesterday so he wasn’t sure how good of an actor he was, but Cynthia had had nothing but good things to say.  

He steps closer to the man and speaks in a softer voice. “I just want to make sure you’re playing your part.”

“Afraid I’ll outshine you with my brashness?” Carvour asks. Curt thinks his accent makes him sound mischievous. “Funny, MI6 assured me I’d be the one reining you in, not the other way around.”

Curt glances around to make sure no one is within earshot. 

“Maybe I’m just being cautious with sneaky Europeans who I’ve never worked with before,” Curt says defensively. This is why he preferred to work alone. He only ever has to look after himself. 

Carvour places a delicate hand on his chest in mock affront. “Sneaky! Why Curt Mega you wound me.”

“Did you even read the case file?” Curt deadpans. What was the point of a cover story if you nearly shout your partner’s real name at every opportunity?

“Relax,” Carvour says as Curt looks around the room once more. “No one here is-

“Shit,” Curt hisses as his eyes connect with the bartender’s, widened in recognition. “I’ve been made.” 

Carvour’s relaxed features shift immediately. They were at work now. “Who?”

Curt’s gaze falls back onto the spy in front of him, smiling casually as if they were discussing the day’s weather. 

“Bartender. One o’clock. I knew I recognized him. He was working with Russian intelligence for my mission in Strasbourg two years back. Droz...Drozdov?”

“Alright, I don’t need his life story,” Carvour smiles back, though it is considerably more forced than moments before. “Is he dangerous?”

Curt licks his lips. “Moderately.”

Carvour seems to consider this a moment before coming to a decision. He nods his head to the side and Curt gets the message. They begin moving in unison through the small groups of politicians and businessmen, past the bar and out into the back hall.

“You think he’ll take the bait?” Curt asks, following the MI6 agent down the hallway. 

Carvour smirks. “Of course. I’m honestly surprised he’s not in this hall right now. Ah, this looks good.” He opens the door to an empty conference room and steps through. Curt gives one last look over his shoulder before he follows him. 

When he closes the door behind him he hears the unmistakable sound of a gun cocking. Curt’s instincts kick in and he whirls around, pistol in hand only to see Carvour’s hands go up in a tired surrender.

“Easy now, Mega.” He waggles his firearm slightly as he lowers his hands. “This isn’t for you. It’s for dear old Drozdov if he gives us any trouble.”

Curt lowers his weapon sheepishly. “Sorry.”

“A little tense are we?”

“I’m not really used to working this closely with other people,” Curt admits. 

Carvour hums in agreement. “We may both have to start getting used to it if this mission goes well.”

“What do you mean?” A.S.S. hadn’t said anything about a recurring partnership.

Carvour blinks. “They didn’t tell you? Damn, I thought my superiors were secretive.”

Curt frowns but he can’t say he was surprised. He was used to being the last to know something. He just wished it didn’t make him look like a fool in front of a damned redcoat. 

“I thought you were just putting on a show when we met yesterday,” Carvour went on, walking over to the door frame. “But you really didn’t know. Yes, this is our little trial run. Our agencies both think an alliance could be useful in the future. It’s funny, I was looking forward to working with you. I was able to read up on a few of your missions and I must say-”

“Shh,” Curt cuts him off and presses his ear to the door. “Someone’s coming.”

Carvour adjusts his grip on his firearm. He glances at Curt curiously. “I go high, you go low?” he asks with a wink. 

Curt scowls.

“What? Don’t you trust me?”

Curt nearly laughs. Trust? Curt was a spy. He only barely trusted his mother. Plus he’d only met the man less than 24 hours ago and he was a spy for a foreign government. So, no. He doesn’t trust him.

Still, Curt detects a hint of sincerity within his eyes. But he’s been wrong before. Curt raises his gun to point the muzzle at the door.

 “Ask me after this mission.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Curt runs down the alleyway with Owen hot on his heels. They’ll never be able to outrun Bianchi’s men on foot but they might be able to lose them in the maze that was downtown Milan. His eyes dart up and down the narrow street, noting the two parked cars at the end of the alleyway and few stranded trash cans pressed against the wall. There - a back door. Curt prays that it’s open. 

“Owen,” says Curt, alerting the other man of his intentions. He leads them swiftly to the threshold, only slowing for a moment to turn the handle, before swinging the door open and rushing inside. Owen nearly trips over him in his haste before Curt slams the door shut. They both pant as they take in their surroundings. It looks to be a small supply closet. A small green door leads to the rest of the building, but Curt honestly couldn’t care less about where they were trespassing.

“You alright, love?” Owen asks after regaining his breath.

“Fine.” Curt leans his back against the door. “Of course, I would be better if you hadn’t gotten us into this mess in the first place.”

Owen’s back straightens. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he says stepping closer. “I suppose you just want me to leave you for dead the next time the situation arises.”

“This wouldn’t have happened if we had gone with my plan.”

“Your plan would have gotten us both killed for nothing!”

“You don’t know-”

“At least with my plan we got the information we needed, even if there were a few hiccups.”

Curt rolls his eyes and gazes around the small room again to see if anything could be of any use to them. They are both quiet for a moment, the only sound being their slowing breaths and a car revving outside. 

“I am sorry.” Curt’s attention swings back to Owen. The Brit chews his bottom lip. “I didn’t mean to drag you into this mess.”

Curt studies Owen then; the sweat at his hairline, the way he rubs his thumb and his forefinger together when he is thinking. He doesn’t think he’s ever seen the man this anxious before. He’s always so cool and collected. Curt had admired him for that, but now he could start to see the man beneath the secret agent. It was strange, but it almost made him smile despite the entire situation.

“Alright then. What’s next?” Curt finally says.

Owen raises his eyebrows skeptically. “You trust me to make the plan after-”

“We all have a few gaffs now and then,” Curt cuts him off. He pats him on the shoulder consolingly. In their line of work, their superiors made sure they knew there wasn’t room for error. And they were right, of course. But it didn’t mean the pressure was any less suffocating. He could tell Owen needed this. “Come on, old boy. I know you’re good for it. What’s your plan?”

A soft smile spreads over Owen’s lips. Curt feels a surge of pride for putting it there. 

“Remember that mission in Lisbon…” 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Curt stares at the bullet hole in the concrete wall in front of him that had come far too close to his head. As it was, the A.S.S. agent had his back pressed against the concrete column, his gun at the ready. He looks over at his partner six feet to his right behind another column, looking only slightly phased by their assailants’ attempted assassination of two of the best spies in the business.

“Now would be a great time for one of your brilliant plans, old boy!” Curt says, carefully peeking out from behind the column and almost immediately taking cover again as four more bullets hit the wall in front of him. 

“Well, eventually, they’ll run out of bullets,” Owen says smoothly. 

“Well by that logic so will we,” Curt growls. He flinches as another bullet ricochets off the corner of the column, scattering bits of concrete on to the floor. He takes his flask out of his jacket pocket and ignores Owen’s judgemental stare as he takes a swig. 

“You really shouldn’t do that while we’re working, love.”

Curt shrugs and returns the flask to his pocket. “What else am I going to do to pass the time?” He leans to the side slightly once more to get a quick look at their assailants. Three more bullets whiz past his head. 

He looks back at his partner. A few strands of his jet black hair fall into his eyes. Owen brushes them behind his ear. Curt knows it's impractical, but he likes it when Owen waits too long to get his hair cut. He thinks it makes him look more dangerous. 

“I’ve got a plan,” says Owen, pulling Curt away from his musings. “But you probably won’t like it.”

Curt narrows his eyes. “I know that look. That’s the same face you made on our mission in Granada. When you nearly got yourself blown up.

Owen bites his lip.

“No. We are not doing that plan.”

“Curt, you have to trust me.” Owen stares at him. Curt could protest more, and he’d drop it. He knows he would. “Please. I know what I’m doing this time.”

Curt wishes he’d taken a bigger drink. He swallows his nervousness and breaks eye contact to check the number of bullets remaining in his magazine. 

“Go. I’ll cover you.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“Do you trust me?” Owen asks. His eyes wander over Curt’s face as if searching for a reason to stop him from what had to be done. 

Curt grimaces but nods. Owen sighs and raises his fists and stares at a point just beneath Curt’s eyes. Curt doesn’t want him to beat him up any more than Owen did but A.S.S. won’t believe it any other way. It was one of the rare occasions that their agencies were working against each other and they had both agreed that MI6 would be much harder on Owen if he didn’t get the formula to his supervisors. Cynthia would no doubt have a conniption fit when Curt returned with only a copy, but at least he’d still be released back into the field after a thorough verbal hiding. Owen’s punishments were often more severe. 

Owen lowers his fists suddenly. “Are you sure this is necessary?

Curt sighs and runs a hand through his hair. “They won’t believe I put up a fight if it doesn’t look like I got into one.” He takes a step forward. “Plus...it’s probably best to show them that we’re not getting too close.”

Owen is silent for a beat too long. He looks, for once, lost, like he doesn’t know which direction is up. Curt curses himself. He shouldn’t have said anything. Why had he phrased it like that? Of course, they were close by spy standards. Most men in his field didn’t trust anyone further than they could throw them. What Curt and Owen had was virtually unheard of in their line of work. Curt trusted Owen with his life, but more than that, they were friends. Curt could say without a doubt that Owen was his best friend in the entire world but he didn’t know how to pass that off to his agency. They weren’t people with relationships in their eyes, they were property of their respective governments. Nothing more. And property with attachments could get messy. 

“You…” Owen starts, his eyebrows coming together in confusion. “You think we’re getting too close?” The vulnerability in his voice makes Curt’s heart stutter. He takes a step closer still so that he is within arm's length of the other man. He hesitates before he grabs him by the shoulders and looks up into his eyes. 

“No, old boy. I think we’re...we’re friends, right?” Curt says as strongly as he could. “It’s just, I don’t know if MI6 and A.S.S. will understand.” Owen’s jaw clenches minimally. “You understand, don’t you?”

Owen nods slowly. 

“Good,” Curt sighs, the moment of tension melting into the atmosphere. He takes a step back. “Come on, Carvour. Give me your best shot.” Owen looks miserable. “It’s alright. I can take it.”

Owen raises his fists again. Curt smiles cockily. 

“I trust you.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Curt has never been this close to Owen before. He only wishes it could have been under different circumstances. 

They are on a merchant ship off the coast of Cuba. Or more accurately, they are in a lifeboat attached to the ship. They’d been discovered and there had been a shootout. They’d taken out most of them but Owen had lost his gun. After a quick debate, they’d climbed into the lifeboat with the intention of escaping but then the Haitians had turned the floodlights on and they couldn’t risk it with the machine gun mounted on the deck. So they had hunkered down on the floor of the dingy and that was how Curt had come to know how it felt like to lie down next to Owen Carvour. 

It’s an awkward affair. There isn’t quite enough room for them to both lie on their backs so they resorted to near spooning. Curt could feel the beat of Owen’s heart on the back of his shoulder and the man’s breath on his neck. Both vitals are a bit rushed but Curt doesn’t blame him. 

They’re outgunned, outmanned, and completely alone in the middle of the ocean. Even if Curt’s communicator hadn’t been shattered in the fight, there wouldn’t have been any rescue team that could have arrived fast enough. They only have the nine bullets left in Curt’s gun and their combined wits. 

Curt tenses and grips his firearm tighter as he hears a shout from far away. Curt can’t see out of the dingy - they closed the protective flap behind them as they got in - but he can guess that their enemies were getting close. They’d be caught any minute. And it wasn’t likely that these men would be taking them prisoner. His heart sinks at the possibility that these are possibly his final moments. He lets out a shaky breath. At least he’d meet his end in good company. 

As if reading his thoughts, Curt feels Owen shift behind him. Then he feels Owen’s arm snake over his side and Curt’s breath catches in his throat. What did he think he was doing? In the dark, Curt only felt rather than saw how Owen’s hand came to smooth over the back of his own, curving over the fingers wrapped around his gun. 

Curt swallows. 

“Do you trust me?” Owen whispers. His fingers move across his knuckles, coaxing. They are warm and calloused. Curt suppresses a shiver. 

Owen is a better shot. He has a better vantage point if they are discovered. Still, Curt will feel vulnerable without his weapon. 

Owen presses his chest into Curt’s back. His chin rests near his shoulder. His mouth hovers millimeters from his ear. 

“Yes,” Curt manages to breathe back. He relaxes his grip on his gun and Owen deftly swipes it from his grasp. 

“There’s a good lad,” Owen says against his ear. Curt closes his eyes against the feeling.

They’ll get out of this. He is sure of it. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“Curt? Curt, can you hear me?”

Curt blinks against the harsh light from the lamp above him. He feels very tired. But he also feels light. His head reminds him of a cloud. 

“Curt? Come on, Mega. Focus.”

“Owen?” Curt’s vision sways as his partner’s features come into view. He looks worried. “What are you doing here?”

“Curt, do you remember where you are?” Owen is touching him, running his hands over the back of his head and down his arms like he was searching for something. Curt hopes he finds whatever it is he is looking for. 

“I’ll take that as a no,” Owen says. “Alright, let’s get you sat up, come on.” 

Curt feels himself be pulled into a sitting position so that he is at eye-level with a crouching Owen Carvour. His hair has fallen forward again, his dark eyes searching his own, his lips part in the beginnings of a question. Curt thinks he looks beautiful. 

“Do you remember anything?” Owen asks. 

Curt scowls, trying to piece together how he’d gotten into this situation but his head starts to hurt. There is only one important detail that he can remember. 

“Your birthday is next week,” Curt says finally. 

Owen raises his eyebrows. “Good lord. They really drugged you up nicely, didn’t they? I might have to ask them for the recipe.” 

Curt nods in agreement. 

“We need to get you out of here. Can you walk?”

Curt nods again. He feels fine, for the most part, just a little foggy. He feels a tug on his arm and he lets his body follow the momentum upward. He sways on his feet but Owen’s hands are steady at his sides. 

“That’s it. Good. Alright, focus on me, love.” Owen shifts Curt’s chin gently so that they are facing each other.

 Curt blinks a few times until his gaze meets warm brown eyes. He’d missed those eyes. 

“You’re going to follow right behind me, okay?” He takes Curt’s hand and presses it into his shoulder. “Don’t let go unless I say so, alright?”

Curt nods, a bit confused. Were they in danger? Did Owen need help? Owen stares at him to make sure he understands. His eyes look almost gold in this light. 

Curt loves Owen’s eyes. He loves how much they change. He loves when they are soft and light in the beaches of Brazil, when they are dark and cold in the middle of an interrogation, when they are warm and safe on a drive to their next mission. He even loves them when they are worried and bright, just like they are now. 

Owen squeezes Curt’s hand before he drops it to pull his gun out of his waistband. 

“I need you to trust me, alright, love?” Owen says imploringly. 

Curt smiles. What a ridiculous thing for him to say. “Of course,” he giggles. 

Owen smiles back, almost in disbelief. 

“Curt Mega,” he says to himself, “you’re going to be the death of me.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Curt can’t breathe. His hands shake as they travel to his head. This couldn’t be happening. He’d been so careful!

He doesn’t know how but they found his mother’s safehouse. They are probably on their way right now. God, if anything happens to her-

“Curt, what’s wrong?” Owen frowns from the entrance to the bathroom. Curt stares at the phone on the nightstand in shock. “Curt?”

“They found my mom,” Curt blurts. “They found her. I don’t know how, but - Owen, I don’t know what to do. What if they - Owen what if-”

His partner is at his side in a second, hands around his shoulders, his facial features grim. 

“Where is she now?”

“She’s in Pasadena,” Curt chokes out. 

Owen nods. “We can get there in two hours.” He lets go of Curt to grab his jacket. He feels lost without Owen there to ground him. “I’ll contact MI6 and see what my contacts can do. You contact A.S.S.”

“Owen, there’s not enough time!” Curt nearly sobs. “She’s probably already-”

“Curt!” Owen’s hands are at his shoulders again and Curt wants to melt into the floor. “Listen to me. You’ve got to pull yourself together.” Owen’s fingers grip him tighter. 

Curt looks helplessly at his partner. Owen’s gaze lingers near his jaw. 

“A.S.S. put her in that safehouse, they can protect her, right?”

Curt swallows around the lump in his throat. 

Owen searches his face. “You trust A.S.S. don’t you?”

Curt hesitates. They look at each other. Owen’s eyes become sorrowful. 

“You trust me , don’t you, Curt?” he asks, a hint of uncertainty creeping into his voice. 

Curt straightens. “With my life.”

He sees relief wash over the other man, but it is short lived. Time is of the essence. They have to move now. 

“She’s going to be fine, Curt.” Owen’s hands slip from his shoulders. “I’ll make sure of it.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“Son of a bitch,” Curt grunts as Owen nearly carries him over the threshold of their motel room. The pain in his leg is getting worse now that the shock was wearing off. Curt had been shot before, of course, but it wasn’t really something one got used to. 

“Come on, love. Nearly there,” Owen huffs as they make their way to the bed. Curt grimaces as Owen shifts to set him down. Curt sits and gazes at his injured leg bitterly. The bullet had entered halfway up his left thigh. 

Owen straightens and looks the wound over. He takes a deep breath. 

“We need to get the bullet out.” He looks around the room trying to remember where they put their medkit. “Take your trousers off,” he demands distractedly. 

Curt hopes the exertion of being shot will be able to hide his blush. He manages to take off his pants without falling off the bed. The air is cold. He can almost imagine steam rising from the bloody mess on his leg. 

He turns his eyes away from the wound. Looking at it only made it worse. Instead, he focuses on his partner’s attentive movements. Owen moves a chair from the small table in the corner to sit right in front of Curt. Then he grabs the medkit and sits, rummaging through the bag on his lap until he finds what he needs. He doesn’t say anything as he pulls on gloves. 

He does this sometimes, when he is really focused. Once, when they were both on a stakeout mission, he didn’t talk for seven hours straight. 

Curt winces as Owen dabs at the blood surrounding the wound so that he can see it better. Once that is done, he takes up the scalpel and some forceps. His hands hover over his leg gently. Curt can feel the heat from them. 

Owen looks up at him. His eyes are nervous, a sheen of sweat drapes across his brow. His jaw twitches.

“Do you trust me?” Owen asks. His voice is uncertain. They’d been trained to perform this type of field medicine but that didn’t mean they were experts. Still, Curt knows Owen thrived under pressure. He’d seen those steady hands at work more times than he could count. 

Curt smiles through the pain and hopes it is enough to assuage him of his worry. 

“I wouldn’t trust anyone else.”

The corners of Owen’s mouth twitch upward. Curt sees his throat move as he swallows. Curt wants to touch it. Does Owen want him to? The fact that Curt can’t say that the answer is a solid ‘no’ is a win in his book. 

Owen breaks their eye contact and gets to work.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Curt hears Owen humming from the kitchen. It is a familiar tune. Curt could have sworn that he’d heard it in some bar lately. He gets up from the dining table, away from their scattered files and mission reports, and crosses to the doorway of the kitchen. 

They’d been stuck in this safehouse for four days and Owen had volunteered to scrounge up some dinner for the two of them. Curt had obliged. He hadn’t had a home-cooked meal in months. Still, he doubted Owen’s abilities with the resources they were provided. 

He leans against the doorframe and watches his partner stir some sort of sauce on the stove. Owen notices him and grins, his humming growing louder. His hips sway to his random tune. 

Curt smiles despite himself. Owen’s eyes glitter in triumph as he spins dramatically, twirling a dish towel above his head like some dancing girl on a variety show. 

Curt shakes his head at the display, trying to hide his affection that is surely showing on his face as he watches Owen raise his arm and beckon to him flirtatiously. 

“No,” Curt says.

Owen then graduates from humming to full-on scatting, taking a few steps closer. Curt needs a distraction. 

 He widens his eyes and morphs his expression into one of concern. “Is that burning?”

Owen immediately stops his silly act and spins around to check his cooking. He stirs the pan once and then turns back to Curt with a pout. 

“That was a dirty trick, Mega.” He shakes his finger at him. “And you’ll not get out of dancing with me quite so easily.”

Curt nearly chokes but manages to play it off as an aggressive clearing of his throat. He decides to change the subject. 

“Are you sure we’ll even be able to eat whatever it is you made?” he says. “There weren’t many ingredients last time I checked.”

Owen scoffs. “Please. I wouldn’t have survived growing up if I didn’t know how to make a meal out of a few odds and ends.”

Curt cocks his head to the side. Owen didn’t really talk about his childhood that much. Or any of his past really. He knew his mother had died when he was nine and he never knew his father. He had joined the British Army when he was 16 and served there until MI6 recruited him. 

Owen takes in Curt’s curious expression and his exuberance dims. “But that’s a story for another time.” He turns back to his cooking. “For now, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.”

He picks up a spoon and dips it into the pan. Then he straightens with the wooden spoon in hand. He takes a few steps toward Curt and holds it out to him. 

“Try it.”

Curt raises his eyebrows. “I’m not sure I trust your cooking.”

“Nonsense. See?” He brings the spoon to his mouth and takes a taste. He holds out the spoon again.

Curt hesitates. Being spoon-fed by his partner seems like it is on a list of dangerous things not to do under any circumstances. 

“It’s delicious,” Owen coaxes. “Trust me.”

Curt licks his lips nervously. Owen nods in encouragement. Against his better judgment, Curt opens his mouth. Owen’s face breaks out into a victorious smile before slowly bringing the spoon to Curt’s mouth. His lips close over the wood. Owen’s gaze is completely focused on his mouth on the spoon. Curt retracts a bit and Owen studies his face. He waits until Curt swallows. There is just a shadow of a smile on his face now, as if some other emotion had eclipsed it. 

“How is it?” Owen asks softly. 

It was good, but Curt knows that even if it hadn’t been he would have told him anything to make him happy in that moment. 

“It’s delicious.”

Owen grins again and turns back to the stove, humming once more. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It is dark in the motel room. The only source of light is from the full moon and the streetlights behind the slatted blinds at the window. But as far as Curt is concerned, the room could have had the sun burning above them and he would have seen Owen just the same. 

His partner is standing so close to him. So close. 

He can smell the lavender shampoo he uses and the cologne he takes with him everywhere. It is a familiar smell, comforting. But now it is almost overwhelming. 

They are both as still as statues. The only noise is each other’s breaths. 

Every nerve in Curt’s body screams; screams to be touched, screams to run away, screams to touch Owen back. He needs to feel him. 

As if answering a prayer, he suddenly feels Owen’s cool fingers ghost along his wrist and Curt’s knees nearly buckle. His heart is beating so hard the rest of his body sways to it. 

They are too close. This is too intimate. If someone was watching them right now, what would they say? What possible excuse was plausible enough to explain what was happening in this room?

Owen slowly raises his other hand. He feels his fingertips at the side of his neck. They are cold and soft and it feels like fire where the skin connects with his. 

God, he wants this but if someone found out they could lose everything; their jobs, their livelihoods, possibly even their lives. He couldn’t risk that. He certainly couldn’t risk Owen’s. 

Curt almost musters up the courage to end whatever this was but then he feels the pad of Owen’s thumb move to his pulse point right below his jaw. He hears his partner sigh as if in relief. Curt swallows audibly. He doesn’t think he has the strength to stop anything anymore. 

Owen leans closer, his eyes glittering in the dark. He bites his lip and Curt tries not to imagine what it tastes like. There was still time to call this off. 

“Curt,” Owen breathes against his mouth. It’s almost a question. 

“Owen,” Curt returns just as softly, though he can’t keep the tremor out of his voice.  

The hand on his wrist leaves his skin to travel up his arm and Curt nearly gasps. 

They won’t be able to come back from this. A flood of panic seeps into his chest making his fingers shake and his mouth dry. They are too close, too intimate, too-

Curt feels both of Owen’s hands at his face, his thumbs on his cheeks, tracing under his eyes, his palms warm and certain against his jaw. He brings their foreheads together.

When he speaks, his words are whispered; a question just for Curt and no one else. 

“Do you trust me?”

Curt shivers and let his hands travel up his partner’s sides. Owen sighs again and the sound stirs something within the pit of his stomach. Curt’s eyes close as his fingers tighten around the fabric of Owen’s shirt. 

He could still walk away from this: from the danger, from the risk, from the pain…

He opens his eyes and finds Owen’s in the dark. 

… from the joy, from the sensation, from the love.

Curt grips Owen tighter and pulls him closer still. Owen’s breath catches.

“Yes,” Curt whispers back. He will always trust him. 

Kissing Owen felt better than Curt could have ever imagined. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Curt sprang to his feet when he heard the phone ring. 

Owen had promised he’d call but there had still been the doubt in his mind. He picks up the receiver and presses it to his ear.

“Mega,” Curt says professionally, just in case it was Cynthia on the phone and not his lover. 

“Hello, love,” Owen’s voice comes over the line, fond and inviting. Curt smiles and sinks into the armchair to his side.

“Owen.”

“Sorry for calling so late, darling, but I figured you’d have rathered me call you at three in the morning than not at all,” Owen explains.

Curt’s forehead creases in a small frown. “I just like to know that you’re safe, you know that.”

Owen chuckles. “Could have fooled me. That last mission was cutting it a little too close don’t you think?”

“I wouldn’t have let anything happen to you,” Curt says. “Besides it’s different when we’re… when I’m over here and you’re over there. I can’t see you.”

“I know, love.” Owen pauses. “I miss you, too.” 

Curt blushes but does not refute him. 

“Listen, the bosses have me going on another mission in a few hours and I may not be able to call for a few days.”

Curt’s heart skips. “What? You just got back! They can’t-”

“Yes, they can,” Owen interrupts. “I work for them, you see.”

Curt frowns. “Well, where is it?”

Owen is silent. 

“Russia?” Curt says in exasperation. “They can’t keep sending you there. Your accent is going to get you killed one of these days.”

“Hey, it’s not that bad!” Owen says indignantly. “Plus, I do believe you had taken up the role of my Russian tutor. So any mispronunciations are really your fault.”

“That’s not fair. I was distracted.”

Curt can almost hear Owen’s impish grin over the phone. “I promise not to distract you next time. Hold on.” Curt hears a muffled voice on the other side of the phone call. “Yes, sir.”

“I have to go.”

“Promise me you’ll call the second you get back,” Curt says.

“Of course, love,” Owen purrs. “Trust me, I’ll think of nothing else until I return.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“They know,” Curt says. 

“Curt, they can’t know,” Owen assures him as he parks the car. 

“Why else would they both call us in like this?” Curt argues. “We’ve had our initial debrief, we told them everything we know and they told us to lay low. This is not laying low.”

Owen sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose.

Curt is too impatient to listen to whatever Owen is about to tell him. “They know and we are going to walk in there and they are going to kill us.”

“Curt-”

“We missed a bug. Someone saw us. Someone heard us.”

“Curt!” Owen grabs his hand. Curt stares at it. Owen takes a deep breath. “We didn’t miss a bug and even if we did, we didn’t do anything more in that hotel room than flirt-”

Curt opens his mouth to argue.

“-which we can chalk up to us both being very charming young spies who don’t know when to turn it off. Okay?” He looks at his partner questioningly. 

Curt flexes his jaw. He just doesn’t want this to end. He squeezes Owen’s hand. 

“Just… be careful what you tell them,” Curt says finally. 

Owen smiles softly, lets his eyes travel over the contours of his partner’s face. “Trust me, Curt. They couldn’t get a peep out of me if they tried.” He brushed his knuckles along Curt’s jaw for a fleeting moment. 

“Everything will be fine.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Curt points his gun and fires twice. Each bullet finds its mark. 

“Nice shot!” Owen calls from his position at the control panel. 

Curt looks around at the four other henchmen on their backs surrounding them. “You’re not so bad yourself, old boy.”

He jogs to where Owen is taking the necessary photographs. “You nearly done here, or can we crack on?” he says in a mocking accent. Owen rolls his eyes. 

“For someone who takes their accent work so seriously, you are an appalling impressionist,” says Owen turning to him with the tiniest of grins.  

“Takes one to know one,” Curt retorts. 

Owen grins and hooks his finger through his belt loop, pulling him closer until their hips are touching. Curt leans in for a kiss. 

Спирка!”

Both of their weapons rise and fire simultaneously at their new assailant. He drops to the ground with four bullet holes in his chest. The spies turn back to each other. 

“I believe we now have the entire base to ourselves,” Owen says flirtatiously. 

“Whatever will we do with our time alone,” says Curt as he snakes his hand into his partner’s back pocket. 

Owen’s eyes widen. “Curt, love, as much as I would love to -”

Curt shuts him up with a kiss. He pulls back with a smug grin at the shell shocked look on Owen’s face. He holsters his gun at his hip and leans forward. 

“Come on now, Owen. It’s only a bit of necking,” Curt goads. 

Owen seems to regain some of his composure and checks his watch, holstering his weapon in a practiced move. “Yes, Curt, but unfortunately this entire facility is about to blow in fifteen minutes.”

Curt traces the collar of Owen’s shirt with his finger slowly. “That’s plenty of time for a kiss or two, don’t you think?”

Owen hums, pretending to mull it over before he grabs Curt’s face and pulls him into another kiss. Curt doesn’t ever think he’ll get tired of kissing Owen. His hands move to his hair and Curt’s head falls back slightly. Owen takes full advantage of the new position.  He backs Curt into the control panel and he can’t help the moan that escapes him. Owen pulls back and searches his face.

“God, you’re gorgeous,” Owen says, almost to himself. Curt smiles breathlessly and is about to respond but then he feels Owen unbuckling his belt. 

“Woah, easy there, tiger.” He puts his hands over Owen’s to halt him. “You said we had to get out of here pretty quick.”

Owen winks at him and grins like a devil. “Trust me, my dear. This will only take a moment.” Owen pulls his hands free and sinks to his knees. 

Curt doesn’t try to stop him. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Owen stands above him on the stairs. The early morning fog in the moonlight makes him look like a ghost. Still, Curt thinks he’s just as beautiful all these years later. 

“Once a spy, always a spy, eh, Curt?” Owen says bitterly. He sounds exhausted. His gun raises to point squarely at his head. Curt can’t bear to look at him any longer. 

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

Curt swallows back the bile in his throat. “Some secrets aren’t yours to share,” he whispers. He looks back at the man he once loved. Still loved. Would always love. 

“What about our secret. The time we shared. The feelings we had. For each other.” Curt took a toward him. He doesn’t know what emotion enters Owen’s face, if it’s doubt or nostalgia or something entirely different, but he lowers his gun by a fraction. Curt presses on. “Are you ready to share that with the world?”

Owen pauses. Curt hopes he’s remembering what they had, how happy they were.

Something within Owen makes a decision. He grips his gun tighter and takes aim once again.

“That secret died the night you left me for dead.”

Curt’s heart breaks. 

“It’s just as well,” Owen adds as an afterthought. “No one can make you do anything if you have nothing to hide.” He sounds so tired.

Curt’s mind is racing. What did he mean? Is he being blackmailed somehow? Anger floods through him; anger at whoever was threatening Owen, anger at Owen for bowing to it, anger at himself for leaving him alone and broken to fend for himself all those years ago. They should have escaped together. They would have figured it out as a team. He has to do something. Now that he has a chance. 

Curt fires his gun before Owen can do anything. The spy’s weapon clatters out of sight. Curt aims his gun at Owen to make sure he doesn’t try anything more. Owen closes his eyes for a moment. He tries to collect himself.

“You know, killing me won’t make a difference so…” His lips curl in a mirthless smile. “What are you doing?”

Curt doesn’t know. He doesn’t know what to do and it scares him. All he knows is that this is wrong and he has the chance to fix it. He will fix this. Owen just has to trust him. They will figure this out.

Together. 

“I can help you, Owen.”

Owen’s shoulders slump and he shakes his head. “I’m far past saving, love.”

Curt’s heart skips at the pet name. Owen blinks as if he surprised himself. It only strengthens Curt’s resolve. 

“I can help you,” Curt says again. “Whatever we need to run away from, wherever we need to go, I will help you.” 

Owen breathes, his eyes searching Curt’s. He can feel his reluctance, but he also knows that some part of him wants to go with him. He can see it in his eyes. 

Curt slowly lowers his gun. Owen watches it until it falls to his side. 

“Owen?” 

His partner’s eyes snap back to his own. They’re dark and cold and hungry. Curt had missed those eyes. 

“Do you trust me?”