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prologue to our tragedy

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He was pretty. Pretty face, pretty eyes, pretty hair, pretty. He wasn’t prettier than the average person though; Owen Carvour was pretty, but not that pretty. 

Curt Mega had been observing Owen Carvour for the past five minutes, at least. He knew that he should walk up to Owen, talk to him about the mission, all that shit. After all, the reason he was in this bar (a pretty bad one, he might add) and was staring at Owen was that they were going on a mission together. But Curt really preferred to wait for a bit. He’d had partners before (not much, but enough to be plural partners) and he noticed that he had a tendency to take it all in before he actually met them. He liked to know exactly what his new partners looked like, to pick up a few habits that were obvious enough to see immediately, that kind of stuff.

Curt also had a little tradition no one else knew about; recalling random details about his previous partners before meeting the new one.

His first partner, Lucy. She was a nice but pretty basic woman: blond hair, blue eyes, average height, she really was quite average. Or so he thought, before actually meeting her. Turned out she was a lot more complicated on the inside than it appeared. She was a perfectionist and had certain little things that annoyed the shit out of her, but she was too anxious to actually say so. It took a while for Curt to find out about those things, and he’d learned them the hard way. As opposed to Curt, she always had a detailed plan before going into a mission, but she never stuck to it - causing her to panic after the mission ended, even if it was successful. Curt knew that there were loads of things Lucy’d never told him, or he simply never noticed. The only thing he knew for sure was that she wasn’t nearly as average as she appeared to be. 

That taught him one of the most important lessons he’d learned during his career as a spy: never judge a book by its cover.

Lucy and Curt did six missions together, four of them successful, none of them without injuring anyone. Cynthia decided that they weren’t a good match; Curt’s improvisation and Lucy’s detailed plans, Curt’s recklessness and Lucy’s panic every time something went slightly wrong. Curt couldn’t really blame his boss, but still didn’t like that their sixth mission was the last one.

After that, Cynthia assigned him to a guy named Ray. Because of his name, Curt had unconsciously expected him to be a cheerful person, a ray of sunshine, so you can imagine his surprise when Ray was anything but that. 

Ray wasn’t a bad person. Curt was convinced that beneath his tough exterior there was a genuinely kind person. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to meet that kind person; Ray died on their third mission.

Alex. The last mission he did with them ended about half a year ago. 

Alex was someone completely out of the ordinary, even more than Lucy. Curt knew this the second someone told him that Alex was transgender. Curt asked Alex about it, they admitted that they were non-binary. Curt managed to stop the rumour and a friendship was formed. 

Just like Ray, Alex had a tough exterior, but it was easy to break through it. Curt got to know them quite well over the course of two missions, and they worked really well together. But Alex slowly started doing less and less missions, until they stopped being a spy at all. Curt had been sad when he heard the news. “I’ll probably come back someday. Can’t leave this business easily. Spies are forever, they say,” they’d jokingly said in an attempt to cheer Curt up. It really struck him.

That brought him to here and now. In a bar, ready to meet his new partner. Owen Carvour. Curt didn’t know much about him. He was British and he was pretty. That’s about it.

He seemed to try to put on a tough exterior, like Ray and Alex had done, but it didn’t quite work out the way he probably wanted it to. It’s not like Curt could see any insecurities; Owen seemed quite confident. But he obviously tried to look as professional and unreadable as possible, and Curt decided that he didn’t like fake professionalism on Owen. 

He had a crooked jaw. It’d taken Curt a while to notice; he supposed it was because it seemed so natural. Maybe he was born with it, maybe an accident caused it. It would be more normal than not for someone with his job if something had blown up in Owen’s face. Some people - assholes, in Curt’s opinion - would say it made him ugly. Curt didn’t mind it. It was the little things like that, you could call them imperfections, that made people unique and beautiful.

One of the reasons Curt liked to stare at his partners was so he could think about that. He barely got the chance to think about the beautiful things in life, and these moments allowed him to do exactly that. He could find a flaw in each person he met, and it reminded him that flaws are natural and there was no point in worrying about his own flaws because everyone had them. It was keeping him confident.

Pretty much the only thing he wasn’t very confident about was meeting new people. Sure, he acted like he knew exactly what he was doing, but he was very aware that he actually had no idea. Over the past years he’d learned that people are unpredictable. Everything about them was. The mood they were in, what was going on in their life, their opinion of you, their personality. It made him a bit nervous when meeting someone new. Trying to memorize their face made it a bit better. It made him feel like he knew them a bit already, in a way.

He just hoped that Owen was as kind as the face he was memorizing.

-

He was charming. Charming face, charming eyes, charming expression, charming. Maybe more charming than the average person.

He was also an absolute idiot for thinking Owen wouldn’t notice Curt staring at him.

Of course Owen had noticed. It was a little hard not to notice someone staring at you like they were trying to remember every detail of your face. Owen didn’t really mind though, he could understand why Curt did it. Owen himself liked to take a good look at people before he walked up to them, but he didn’t do it for nearly as long as Curt did.

Owen had a little tradition not many people knew about too. Or maybe it was just an anxious habit, or both. 

Owen recited every detail of the mission they were going on in his head before meeting his new partner. It’s not like those details were actually useful (well, maybe they should be, but Owen liked to only think about the bigger picture. He found details irrelevant and didn’t know why he remembered them every single time he went on a mission. Dates, places, irrelevant. As long as he did what he was supposed to do and he didn’t die while doing it), but he remembered them nonetheless. Today’s mission was in Berlin. September 25th, 1949. A new partner. Supposedly America’s best spy. Owen didn’t know if he should believe that, he heard one of his partners died during a mission. 

They had three days to finish the mission. The first day was to get to the hotel, get to know each other a bit, just to talk in general. The second day was to make a plan. The third day was to go to the Viktoriapark and stop a deal that was going to take place. 

Sure, it was an easy mission, but an important one. The weapons that were going to be exchanged could start a third world war in the wrong hands, and there was no doubt the criminals were going to make sure nobody stood in their way. Unfortunately for them, Owen and Curt would be standing in their way - if everything went according to plan.

Now, everything he actually needed to know: stop weapon exchange in park. Owen didn’t need more than that information to be successful.

Owen took a quick look at his partner. Yup, he was still staring at him. If he didn’t know better, Owen would think Curt was being hypnotized. Actually, that could be happening. Someone could have found out about why they were there and could be trying to stop Curt, and hypnotization was - no, Owen. Stop overthinking, you’ll be fine. 

Despite being quite confident in himself and in his actions, Owen was an overthinker, but luckily for him he could stop overthinking quite easily. Still, it caused him trouble sometimes.

A drunk man stumbled towards Owen. “Hey, why don’t you have a drink?” he slurred. Owen uncomfortably pushed the man away. “No thanks, I’m good,” he said as politely as possible. The man pulled a face, but walked away without doing anything stupid. Owen sighed. He supposed it was time to introduce himself to Curt, if he didn’t want this to happen again. 

But he didn’t have to. When he looked up from the ground Curt was standing in front of him. “You good?” he asked. “You looked pretty uncomfortable with that guy,” he quickly added when he saw Owen’s confusion.

“Uh, yes, I’m fine,” Owen responded. Curt smiled at him and extended his hand. “Name’s Curt Mega.” Owen shook it. “Owen Carvour. Nice to meet you.”