Curt couldn’t sleep. Each time he managed to drift off, he woke in a panic, about to scream, seeing Owen dying in a multitude of ways. In some, Owen was saying how much he loved him, how he was the love of his life before his foot slipped on the banana and he fell. Curt couldn’t control his body, and no matter how much he fought to run to Owen, he couldn't stop his dream self from fleeing. He could see the betrayal on Owen’s face. In some, he saw himself shoot Owen. Look him in the eyes, put his gun to his forehead, and pull the trigger. In others, he saw Tatiana kill him. In one, Owen killed himself.
Curt eventually got up at about four, drenched in sweat and far too awake for that early in the morning. He took a short shower, and wandered into the kitchen, making himself a cup of earl grey tea before freezing and staring at it, tears starting to form in his eyes. He hadn’t had tea in years, since Owen’s first death in fact, and smelling it brought back memories of cuddling on the couch, braiding his partner’s hair as they joked around, the relaxing evenings they had after a long day of work.
He collapsed into the chair, taking deep breaths to steady himself. Owen was in the next room over, and he had no right to be falling apart like this. He could feel his heart rate finally start to settle when a yell jerked him out of his chair, sending it clattering across the floor. His gun was in his hand and he was standing in the door to the living room before he knew what he was doing.
He saw Owen, sitting up, eyes wild and looking panicked. He could see him starting to hyperventilate, and quickly tucking his gun back into its holster, he walked loudly across the floor, approaching in front of him and dropping to his knees a few feet away.
He wasn’t sure if Owen knew he was there, but he started talking, remembering how a few years before he was able to soothe Owen during panic attacks and after nightmares by talking to him. Owen had never responded very well to touch during his attacks, and after everything, Curt knew he couldn’t get near him without making it much worse.
“Hey, Owen, you’re okay, I promise. I won’t hurt you. You’re at the safe house remember? It's me, Curt. I know that you probably don’t want me here, but you have to calm down, okay? You’re safe, no one’s going to hurt you here.”
He could see Owen’s breaths slowing down, and was relieved. “Okay, just breathe with me here. In, out. In, out.” He watched Owen start to breathe with him, and when it was steady, but still a little fast, he decided to start talking about something else. Distractions used to work well.
“Remember that time that you decided to come with me to check in with Cynthia? And we got in there and then realized that technically you weren’t allowed to be there and we were starting to commit treason by letting you in even though you couldn’t get any information? That was so fun. We were hiding in closets and trying to dodge Cynthia. I think she knew you were there but she couldn’t prove it. And then you jumped out of the window of the secretary’s office and hung on the sill for almost ten minutes? I was so bad at distracting her. Like, I first tried to flirt, but I think we all know how bad my flirting is, and then I just tried to get her to leave, and eventually she only left because you faked an emergency call? That was probably one of the funniest memories I had with you. It was just so fun, we were laughing the whole time even though we were technically probably breaking the law. Wait, and then remember that time when the ceiling in our hotel collapsed after that night it had been pouring out? We had been baking--”
He noticed Owen was looking a lot calmer, and trailed off, not sure if he should continue now that Owen was more aware.
He looked down as Owen looked over at him, a slightly surprised look on his face. “I-- sorry? I didn’t want to touch you, but distracting you generally calmed you down. I didn’t want to bother you, I can come back in a few minutes with something to eat, but I don’t have to stay here if you don’t want me.”
He left it intentionally open, so that if for some reason Owen wanted him, then he could say so, but Owen didn’t respond, only inclined his head a little, still watching him.
Curt smiled sadly, standing up. “I hope you’re feeling better, Owen, and if you need anything, I can help you with whatever. We should probably check your wounds in a little bit also. Or if you want Tatiana to help, that’s fine too.”
He didn’t expect a response, and even though he hoped for one, he wasn’t surprised when Owen was quiet as he left the room. He glanced back as he stepped into the kitchen, seeing Owen’s frame still shaking slightly, and wishing he could do more to help. He also noticed the cuff that was attached to his left wrist that gave him freedom of movement, though not enough to leave the couch. He assumed Tatiana must have put it on him at some point, and he hated that it was probably to make sure that Owen didn’t try to kill both of them.
Curt went to the stove, turning on one of the burners and pulling out a bowl to mix up some eggs to make scrambled eggs. Something pretty mild for Owen, especially because just a few hours before he had been seconds from death. He mixed together the egg and milk and poured the mixture into a pan. He watched as it sizzled, determined to make a passable meal on his first attempt. He was a disaster at cooking, he knew that, and even though he had improved a lot over the time that he had known Owen, his skill was still more in the baking category, as that was what Owen had mainly taught him. The one time that he had tried to make Owen an omelet for breakfast, he had scorched it until it was burnt and bitter, sending up a wave of smoke that had set off the alarm in their small hotel, leading to a hotel evacuation that had woken Owen at five in the morning. After that, they had decided that if they were going to have a cooked breakfast, Owen would either make or at least supervise it.
He watched the eggs carefully as they cooked, sprinkling what he hoped wouldn’t be a deadly amount of salt onto it as he waited until they looked fully done. Or maybe past fully done. They were a little dry, and sure, it wasn’t a work of art, and most people could probably make far better, but it was edible and he was proud. He poured a cup of earl grey tea for Owen, pushing away the nostalgia and gently knocked on the door to the living room before opening it. He walked in and set it on the table. “I made scrambled eggs. It's actually edible this time! It’s, well,” He scratched the back of his neck, embarrassed, “probably not great, but it's better than last time. And I made tea. If you want it. If you want something else I could make that?”
Owen looked up at him and scrutinized him for a moment, but then nodded softly. He wasn’t speaking to him yet, but also wasn’t screaming about how much he hated him, so he hoped that was a good thing.
Curt smiled and backed out of the room, but paused before he left. Then he took a deep breath and pulled out the small silver key for the cuffs. He walked back over to Owen, making sure not to get too close, and setting it on the table. The wary look was back in his eyes, but he wasn’t flinching away.
“For the cuffs.”
He saw surprise in Owen’s expression, and then hesitation. He saw him pause, watching Curt carefully before he picked up the key and unlocked the cuff. Curt nodded at him, but stopped again before he left. “Tatiana or I can be in soon to check on your bandages.”
Owen didn’t say anything, but Curt still smiled as he started to shut the door. He might be getting somewhere.
Then a voice, quiet and unsure, spoke. “Thank you.”
Curt could feel a smile, brighter and more genuine than anything he'd had for years slowly spread across his face. Owen would get better. And when he chose to leave, that would be fine. As long as Owen was okay, he would be as well.