Agent Curt Mega wasn’t a weak man. Sure, he could be a tad reckless at times, throwing caution to the wind even in the direst of circumstances. And sure, he let his emotions guide him on more than one occasion, but none of this accounted to weakness. He was brilliant, but not the typical sort one might expect from his line of work. It was a rash brilliance, the kind of intelligence that presented itself in the unlikeliest of situations. It came out in the heat of the moment, manifesting in an expertly placed bullet between the eyes of an enemy, or the split second decision to knock the gun out of the hands of a foe. It was these little moments of excellence that made Curt Mega the finest agent in the American Secret Service, or as he preferred to say, the world.
Agent Owen Carvour begged to differ. “Then beg,” Curt would often retort to his partner’s objections. Though they butted heads immensely when they were first assigned to one another back in ‘57, they eventually formed a sort of mutual respect for one another despite their differences. Where Curt was impetuous and acted on a whim, Owen was calculating and always planned things through. And where Owen often wound up stuck in a routine, Curt found a way to break the mold and surprise them both with his ingenuity. It was like they were made for one another, perfectly fitting for each others’ company like the yin and yang of Chinese lore. Two men with an incredible partnership, perhaps even a bit more, though neither of them would have liked to admit. It was only after a particularly brutal mission in India that the two would confront their feelings for one another.
It began with a scream. A blood-curdling cry of anguish that sliced through the thick silence of their double hotel room. The scream belonged to Curt, and caused his partner to rouse from his fitful sleep. They had booked a double room, so that each man could have his privacy. After all, the agencies had the budget for it.
“Curt, what’s going on?” asked Owen in his characteristic British accent, still rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he sat up in bed.
“Nothing,” said Curt, “nothing at all. Go back to sleep.”
This had been periodical for the past few missions they had served together. Curt would wake up screaming, or Owen would close a door and his partner would pull out his gun, just little things like this that made Owen wonder. And he’d been respectful until now, trying to respect Curt’s privacy. But he’d had enough. He wasn’t mad by any means, but if they were to continue working together, he had to get to the bottom of this.
“Of course, clearly it’s nothing, love,” Owen said, his tone dripping sarcasm despite the pet name. “I’m serious, what’s going on? You’ve been acting strange ever since Buenos Aires.”
Curt inhaled deeply, trying to decide if he should be honest. He certainly didn’t want to let anyone see this perceived weakness inside of him, especially Owen. But, he supposed that his partner could outlast him in a game of obstiance, so he gave in.
“It’s these nightmares I’ve been having,” Curt admitted solemnly, his eyes resting on the floor as he clutched a pillow, tempted to bury his face into it and never again see the light of day. “I keep seeing their faces.”
“Whose faces, love?” Owen asked, his voice shifting empathetically.
“The people we’ve killed. I keep seeing them in my sleep, and hearing their pleas for mercy, and their screams just keep echoing around in my head and it hurts.” Curt bit his lip, even talking about his nightmares was bringing him back to the harder moments of the job. “I keep hearing them begging for me to spare their lives, Owen, and I can’t just live with knowing that, somewhere out there, there are people missing their husband or brother or son because of me.” Curt lay on his side, blinking back the tears that stung the corners of his eyes. He felt a sense of relief, like a pressure in his chest was released as he opened up to Owen. He hadn’t done that with anyone else, not even his own mother. And to think, this wasn’t even an important secret. Curt had to wonder what it would be like to tell someone about that. But he couldn’t. First of all, he’d be fired. His livelihood would be ruined. And his friendship with Owen. There was something undeniable about Curt’s feelings towards his partner that he couldn’t quite place. He had been trying not to think of Owen in that way, especially considering they worked together, but there was something magnetic that drew him in, leaving him with an intense desire for more. Call it love, or call it, to quote Cynthia, his “addictive personality”, Curt wasn’t sure. What was certain, however, was that he could never verbalize those feelings.
Owen’s mouth opened to say something, anything, to comfort his partner who was clearly in a lot of pain.
“Curt, I—” he started, but found that he was speechless. There were no words he could think of to help his partner, and it made him feel absolutely sick to his stomach. See, Agent Owen Carvour was in the business of helping people, so when he couldn’t, it made him feel positively rotten on the inside. So, he did what he thought was best. It certainly wasn’t professional in the slightest, but they weren’t technically on a mission anymore. And that’s what friends do, right? They comfort one another in the best way they can. At least, that’s what Owen thought was the reason for what he did next.
Owen climbed into bed, sitting next to Curt and wrapping his arms around his partner’s shoulders. Curt was a bit surprised, he had never taken Owen for the forward type. He tensed up a bit, not remembering the last time anyone had shown affection for him in this way. But, as he felt the gentle rising and falling of Owen’s breath against his chest, Curt loosened up a bit, sinking into his partner’s arms and resting his chin on Owen’s shoulder. Owen smelled of cheap hotel soap, of late night smokes, and expensive cologne. He took a deep breath in, the gesture comforting him immensely. It was strange, because usually the only thing that helped him in times like these was a good old glass of whiskey, but oddly enough, Curt didn’t feel the need to grab his flask and take a long swig.
“There, that better?” Owen asked softly, pulling back and looking Curt tenderly in the eyes.
Curt nodded, meeting his partner’s loving gaze. He realized he could stare into those eyes forever. He’d always thought blue eyes were pretty, but Curt could sense that brown would become his new favorite color. He imagined how they’d look in the morning sun, all warm and inviting. Curt could picture those deep caramel irises, flecks of gold shining from within them as the rays of sun softly fell across his face. And even now that it was dark, Owen’s eyes were beautiful, like the night sky before any stars had arisen. Owen’s eyes were mesmerizing, and he could feel himself getting lost in them.
“A picture will last longer, love,” Owen laughed. The sound sent butterflies rising in Curt’s chest, along with a sinking feeling in his stomach. Not now. This couldn’t be happening. He felt his face flush intensely, immediately looking away and fixating on the tacky hotel carpet.
“I, uhh—” Curt fumbled over his words, something uncharacteristic of him. Was this seriously happening right now? He recounted the amount of times he’d dreamed about Owen Carvour, but this was something else entirely. It was new and fresh and terrifying the living daylights out of him. “Owen, can I ask you something?” He said in a moment of confidence, gulping the dread down his throat. He had to find out, to see if the signs really were pointing in the right direction. He wasn’t sure if the sarcastic remarks were flirting, or if it was just a habit of his partner’s. The same thing went for Owen’s throwing around the word ‘love’, especially around Curt. He remembered vaguely that this could be a cultural thing, but he just wasn’t sure. And these questions had stewed up in his mind for far too long.
“Depends on what you want to know,” came the reply.
The look on Owen’s face said it all. The pure terror in his eyes, like a deer in the headlights, was all Curt needed to see to know that his suspicions had been correct. Owen opened his mouth to say something in return, but Curt brought a finger to his partner’s lips.
“Don’t worry, I am too.”
Owen let out an audible sigh of relief, flashing Curt a nervous, yet reassured smile.
“You are? You’re… God, Curt, I must be dreaming,” he said, looking around the room before settling his gaze back on his partner. This could not be happening. As much as Owen hated to admit it, he’d fallen for the stupidly handsome American the day they’d met, and had been subtly dropping hints ever since. Of course, he never would have even dreamed that this could have worked out so perfectly, which was what scared him. It had to be a joke, right?
“Would you like me to slap you?” Curt asked with a devilish grin.
Owen shook his head, still in awe that this was even happening. “Curt, you have no idea how long I’ve waited to hear those words.”
“Well I can say it again if you’d like. I’m—” Owen quickly put a hand to Curt’s mouth, hissing softly through his teeth.
“Mega, you can’t say that here! Who knows if our room is tapped or not?” Owen definitely had a point, but Curt wasn’t about to let his partner get away with this one.
“You just can’t keep your hands to yourself, can you, Carvour?” He punctuated his sentence with a wink. Now it was Owen’s turn to blush.
“Maybe I’ll just go back to my own bed then, love,” Owen said, standing up.
“No!” Curt grabbed his partner’s hand and pulled him back to a seated position, pouting.
“Hm, that’s what I thought.” Owen smirked triumphantly, pulling Curt into another tight hug. “I think I’ll stay here for the rest of the night. Wouldn’t want another nightmare, now would we, my dear?” Curt smiled, letting his eyes flutter closed as he rested his cheek on Owen’s chest.
“Sounds like a plan to me.”
The two collapsed onto the bed, covering themselves with the crisp white sheets that the hotel provided. Curt had never felt so warm, either physically or emotionally. Owen’s arms were wrapped around his waist, and he leaned his cheek against Owen’s chest. He exhaled softly, listening to the muted noise of the city outside the hotel, content in the darkness of their room. Owen’s steady heartbeat lulled him into a blissful slumber, and for the first time in months, Agent Curt Mega slept soundly.