“What’s our record, six minutes?”
“Berlin, last spring. We made it out of there in what, six minutes?”
Owen looked at him out of the side of his eye, his expression serious, though Curt didn’t miss the mischievous look in his eye.
“I don’t like that look in your eye, yes six minutes.”
“Think we can do it in five?” Challenging Owen was the way to make him jump to do basically anything. Curt had made Owen do some slightly wild dares through challenging him or acting like he didn’t believe that he would.
Owen smiled. “Make it four.” He turned and walked back, checking the timer that he had set before glancing back at Curt.
“If we lock the safety barricades, we can limit the blast.”
Curt didn’t even pause to consider. “We don’t have time for that--”
“Trust me, you’re going to want to do this.” Curt looked at him, and trusted him, just as he always did, nodding once before setting the timers.
Then they ran.
“Curt Mega, you’re going to be the death of me!”
“I’d never let you down!”
It happened too quickly for him to even realize something was wrong. Owen’s foot landed on the banana peel that he had dropped and he slipped, falling to the side. Falling off the rickety staircase and into the abyss.
Curt lunged forwards, adrenaline spiking as he reached for Owen’s hand and barely caught it. They had almost lost each other so many times, but this wouldn’t be one of them. He grabbed onto the metal railing and pulled Owen back up, panting from the exertion, but his hand was sweaty and slipped.
Owen fell, screaming Curt’s name. He couldn’t tear his eyes away as Owen finally hit the ground and lay there, still. The sound of his partner hitting the cold concrete rang in his ears.
Then he was moving, back down the stairs and towards him, where he flung himself on his knees next to Owen. Dead or not, he couldn't leave him, even if that meant he would die too.
“O?” Curt ran a hand gently through Owen’s hair, smoothing it out, feeling the small braids that he had made earlier that day. There was no movement, but he couldn’t be dead. He just couldn’t be. “O, please.”
He could see the world blur as tears filled his vision and dripped onto Owen’s face.
He picked Owen up and stumbled behind over to the wall, pulling Owen behind part of a hard metal door, where he thought they would be as protected as possible. He closed his eyes, holding Owen tightly, and looked at his watch. Maybe they could make it--
There were ten seconds left, and he had no way to carry Owen up the stairs and out before it exploded.
Curt’s eyes flew open to see Owen looking at him, bleary and injured, but still alive. Barely, perhaps, but alive nonetheless.
“Get out of here, you gotta--” He shoved weakly and ineffectually at Curt, but Curt just held him tighter.
“I’m not leaving you.”
He held Owen tighter, hoping maybe he could protect him from the explosion. If he could save Owen, whatever it cost him, it would be worth it.
They locked eyes as the world went up in flames around them. Even as the blaze of light became too bright and hot for Curt to stand, all he did was stare into Owen’s eyes, praying that if there were an afterlife, they would meet there.
Curt woke, opening his eyes with a groan. Was death supposed to be so painful? He forced his eyes open, gritting his teeth through the dust that had settled all over him and across the mangled rubble of the facility. The facility. No. No. Anywhere but there.
He was alive, somehow, and never had he wished more that he wasn’t. His body burned with pain, but the wall he had managed to drag them behind was mostly blast resistant. He felt the heavy weight in his arms, and knew what he would find when he looked down. He couldn’t; doing it would confirm that the one person that he cared about more than anyone in the world, was gone.
He looked down at Owen, knowing what he would find, but his heart still shattered to see him limp in his arms. He just hoped that Owen had gone quickly, that it hadn’t hurt too much.
All he could do was stare at the ruins of his life and wish that he too had died in that explosion.