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perhaps not knowing could spare you some pain

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Owen cursed as he ran, diving into a storage closet and closing the door before looking down at his injured leg. It had been hastily wrapped in a bandage he had managed to steal before he had made his escape, but was stinging sharply. He could feel the burn from the bullet even though it had only grazed his leg, and he hoped that the wound wasn’t too deep. 

 

Owen heard voices come closer and pressed himself into the wall, holding his breath and hoping with all his might that no one would hear him. He heard the soldiers pass by, and almost released his breath when the footsteps stopped and turned around, pacing back towards him until they were almost outside the closet. He almost stopped breathing as he listened, hearing soft murmurs but not able to make out what they said. 

 

Then the voices stopped. He leaned towards the door, trying to hear if they were still there. A booming voice-- the general, oh shit-- made him jerk back into the wall and he bit back the curse that was on his lips.

 

“Did you catch him?”

 

“No sir, we managed to hit him, but he got away.”

 

Owen felt the world swim around him a little and frowned to himself. There hadn’t been much blood loss and he was breathing pretty evenly now, but maybe it was just a combination of that and anxiety? He refocused on their conversation.

 

“Lock down the facility, but don’t bother searching any more for him. We’ll find him soon enough; he won’t be going anywhere.”

 

Owen sank to the ground, still feeling somewhat faint and considering how he could get out. He pulled out his communicator and noticed that the light next to Curt’s name was the only one turned on, but Curt was back at the hotel, with some “surprise” that he apparently had for their anniversary dinner. He wouldn’t bother him unless he absolutely had to.

 

Owen leaned his head against the wall, going through his options. He heard the footsteps head away from the door, and after waiting five minutes, decided he may as well get on the move. He grabbed onto a shelf and used it to pull himself to his feet, but suddenly felt horribly wrong.

 

He felt like he was floating, like the world was a carousel spinning around him, and hazily felt his leg collapse under him as he crumpled back to the floor. His head was still swimming, and even though he was taking deep breaths, he was still short of air. 

 

“He won’t be going anywhere.”

 

The phrase echoed through his mind. Of course he’d be going somewhere, he just had to rest for a minute. How could the general have been so sure?

 

“We managed to hit him.”

 

And then he knew. The reason why the man had immediately been satisfied with knowing Owen was grazed, why he gave up the search and was so convinced that he wasn’t going anywhere.

 

The shooting pain and why everything was feeling hazy all made sense. Poison.

 

Owen had studied poisons, knew the symptoms and treatments, knew what must have been on the bullet that hit him, and cursed himself for not realizing quicker. He had no antidote with him because he had thought it would be a quick in-and-out mission, with no need even for Curt to come, and hadn’t brought anything.

 

Without the antidote, he didn’t have a chance. 

 

Owen lay back, staring up at the dirty ceiling, his mind floating. He could still feel the sharp pain from where he had been shot, but it was being covered now with a numbing haze. 

 

Then he suddenly realized what he needed to do and reached blindly for his communicator and flipped it on, calling Curt. 

 

His call was answered within seconds.

 

“O? Are you okay? Do you need anything?”

 

Owen smiled to himself as he relaxed back. He could feel a few tears slip down his face, but refused to let it show in his voice. He might only have a minute left, he had to tell Curt something, not that he was about to die, but something that would help him. Or at least, something he hoped would help him.

 

“No, I just got out-- I’ll be home soon. I just--  just wanted to hear your voice.” He smiled. He could see the ceiling blur out of focus above him.

 

“Aww, okay. I love hearing your voice too. Get back soon and we can have dinner, yeah?” 

 

He could hear the love in Curt’s voice and hated himself that he was leaving Curt. Curt deserved so much better, and Owen hated that he was going to leave him. 

 

His communicator blinked, almost out of battery. Just like him, almost out of time. 

 

“My communicator is almost dead, so I’m probably going to go, but…” He hesitated. What could he even say to make this better? “I love you. No matter what. You deserve the world.”

 

There was a pause before Curt replied, his voice soft. “As long as I have you, I have all I could ever need.”

 

Owen could feel himself crying softly, and opened his mouth to say something, but his communicator flickered and died. The connection was gone.

 

He tried to move, but his body had settled into a numb haze, and he felt like he was being plunged into freezing water, but then the water gave way to a soft fuzzy feeling, like how he felt when he was curled up on the couch with Curt and wrapped in fluffy blankets. He closed his eyes, a soft smile on his lips as he pictured the moment. It had been earlier that very day.

 

Everything was soft and warm. Everything was okay.

 

-------

 

Curt frowned at the communicator as the connection abruptly cut off. Something felt wrong, but he reassured himself knowing Owen would have told him if he could do anything. He’d have to ask when Owen got home.

 

Curt turned back to the oven, pulling out a sheet of cheesy pretzels-- one of Owen’s favorite comfort foods-- and setting it on the table, mindlessly rearranging the flowers he had bought him while he waited for Owen to get back. 

 

It would just be a few more minutes, he knew it. Owen would never be late for their anniversary dinner. 

 

Just a few more minutes.