Owen had lost hope. He knew he wasn’t getting out of this alive. Well, no one was in the end. But after falling 24 feet and hearing the facility crumble down around him, Owen had lost all hope. The last thing he had seen before the loud rumble and falling stone overtook his senses was Curt, his Curt, running away. He felt like he’d almost watched from an outside perspective. Watched Curt leave that damned banana, watched himself fall, watched his partner see the whole thing, the event he caused, and run away. He left Owen for dead. And Owen didn’t know what to think. But as everything began melting away, as his vison failed him and as he felt rubble crush his body, the last thing he thought about were his daughters and that he was glad Curt had left. Ellie and Margaret couldn’t grow up alone, even if he was going to die this way, they still had to have someone. And as long as they had Curt, everything would be ok.
Oh, how wrong that was now. Curt couldn’t look after them, Owen knew that. He was arrogant, self-obsessed, too dim-witted for his own good. Curt and his whole way of life had ruined everything and that was not the way Owen was going to let the world remain. It had now been a year since his fall. Since he was taken in.
He had initially been tortured. He was found as a corpse minutes after the explosion, before the A.S.S or MI6 could get to him. He’d been taken in by who he had originally believed to be Russians, they had assumed him dead until they found a pulse, at which point they’d tried their best to get him to wake up. And that he did, in a cold, stiff hospital bed before he’d been dragged to interrogation. He had expected to be asked a few questions first, be ask for the location of the blueprints, names of his co-workers, of his family, anything. Except he was asked none of that. They spoke calmly at first, informing him of what had happened. That he had been caught in a Russian weapons facility that he and his partner had infiltrated. That he had fallen but they’d managed to save him from becoming completely braindead. Owen had almost felt himself pulling away from his mistrust at their rationality. They said they just wanted him to cooperate. And he had agreed. The old Owen would have called the choice misguided and foolish, but that version of Owen was wrong.
Owen’s captors had pulled up a screen, displaying various photos. Owen had frozen in his seat when he’d seen them. Curt, their daughters, their home, that was supposed to be a safehouse, Curt’s mother, everything that had ever meant anything to him. Then the electricity came, coursing through his body and he had screamed loudly, shaking and shuddering in his seat once it was done and writhing for the whole time. And it had continued for days. He was left in the chair, limbs still spasming while they showed him the world he used to know. They didn’t let up for a week. But Owen didn’t give anything up. He wasn’t sure what they wanted anyway, but he knew there must have been something they wanted. And he wasn’t wrong.
After the week of relentless torture, someone else, unfamiliar to Owen entered the room. He appeared calmer, much more formal than the brutes who had subjected Owen to unending torture. He had spoken to him softly, asking him questions about what had happened before the fall, although he asserted that he knew the series of events already. Then his questions took a turn.
“Mr Carvour, do you believe it is unfair that your partner escaped when you did not?”
“He was responsible for all your injuries, why should he get to be happy?”
“You believe him careless and incapable, yes?”
“Should he be in your place? Of being “dead”.”
All the questions had continued down that vein for a while and Owen had hesitated on each but the man kept frowning at his hesitation and insisting that the answers were yes for all of them. He kept telling Owen that Curt was the monster, that he had wanted Owen dead, that he was going to continue on his life without him. He then gave Owen one final proposal.
“We can give you your life back Owen, we can make him pay. All you have to do is join us, and eliminate people like him, spies as a species.”
Owen had agreed. And the man had welcomed Owen into the new age. The one that Chimera would be fronting.
Owen felt no sympathy as yet another person begged for their life. Things had gotten slightly out of hand that night and he had to take a lot more lives than intended but he felt little to no remorse. He had been made this way, and this is the way he had to be. A year on from his accident, he was stronger than he had been before. Chimera had put him through physical therapy until he was strong enough to go out and right the wrongs that had been done to him. It started by gathering names, of every agent within the many government agencies. Eliminating them, slowly whittling down them as an idea, creating a landscape for the planned world reset. He was made this way by his partner’s ignorance and he would make him pay, he had to.
But that never stopped the thoughts that raced through his head at night. That never stopped the images of his daughters, his girls, flashing through his minds. He imagined what they were like now, it’d been a year since he’d seen them, and he didn’t know how long it would be before he did get to see them again. He imagined them both as scared, they’d lost one of their two protectors after all. Were they still inseparable or had their differences won out? Were Margaret’s boisterous personality and Ellie’s soft spoken demeanour clashing or were they still kind and undyingly loyal to each other. It almost made him smile when he thought about what a madhouse their home must of become and then he pictured Curt still with them. He wanted to cry. And maybe the old him would have. His family was all together but without him. No, he would get back to them, once it was over he’d be able to see his girls again. He’d be able to hug them, he’d be able to comfort them, he’d be able to lead them through the new world, once Chimera had their way with it. He would have his life back and it would be perfect.
But that’s not what things looked like three years later. After all the effort he went to, the lying, the murdering, the backstabbing, he was stood on a staircase with the man he once loved. The man he still loved deep down. They had guns trained on each other and Owen was going to end it here. He was going to wrench all his thoughts against killing Curt from his mind and pull the trigger, he was going to right the world and everything would be okay. He just had to push all his thoughts and his sympathies for his traitor from his mind and train his gun on Curt. But then the other man said something, something that cut deep.
“What about our daughters Owen?” Curt’s voice was shaky and tearful but he managed to choke out the words before his voice turned to a pained shout. “What about them?! You abandoned them! You left them alone!” The accusation cut deep, and Owen was unable to level his voice when he next spoke, voice only carrying blind rage.
“You are the reason I left them!” Owen shouted, forcing the barrel of the gun right to Curt’s forehead. “You know it like I do! You know this is all on you! And what’s it matter? I wasn’t around then but I’m around now, and you’re not going back to them this time, I am.” His voice was horse and distressed and Curt could see beneath it, he lowered his gun.
“Owen, you say what does it matter.” He looked up at him, steadying himself and his voice. He holds his stance, staring up at the man who he still loves more than anything. “It matters because sometimes when Ellie wakes up with nightmares, she forgets what happened and she asks for you. Margaret still insists we celebrate your birthday. It matters because our girls love you, and by doing this, by killing me, you are destroying that. I know you hate me, I do too. I don’t blame you for wanting to kill me for what I did. But please, just go back home to them, it’s what they deserve. They need you back. I need you to go back to them.”
That made Owen think for a moment but he knew what could and couldn’t be done. “Curt, even without me, this won’t end. If the girls are going to grow up in the world Chimera makes… I can’t leave. They’ll kill them if I do. And while I know killing your loved ones isn’t as much of a big deal to you, but I can’t risk it. Not them.” He was still trying to maintain his façade of confidence but Curt’s words rang in his ears. He had to go home. He had to get back to them.
“Owen, you know they’ll kill you anyway. They’ll kill us for what we are. I can help you, but only if you take my hand, if you come home to them.” Curt offered his hand to his former partner. He was still hurt and damaged by Owen’s actions, he was still unsure of where he stood on Owen. But would do anything he could for his kids. And so would Owen.
“Do you have a photo of them now?” Owen asked softly, taking the other man’s hand. Their relationship was not healed by any means, but he was going to take the out, for Ellie and Margaret.
Curt nodded at the question and dug around in his jacket pocket. He had taken it with him since he left his mothers home. He had known the likelihood that he wouldn’t have lived. And he had wanted to keep his girls with him. He pulled out a worn photo, of both Margaret and Ellie, now eleven, both smiling. There was an extremely grumpy, old cat between them. And Curt heard Owen let out a loud, painful sob as he looked at it.
He had yet another chance to escape the pain of what happened and he was going to go home to his girls.