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what future do i have without you

Chapter Text

“I’ll locate the island and destroy the system.”

“No. I should be the one. I need to be the one.”

“What you need is to go after Owen.”

Curt hesitated. One part of him wanted nothing more than to chase after Owen, to beg him to come back, to just see him one more time. But he knew that he had to destroy the compound. He didn’t know if he could bear seeing his ex lover again, but more than that, he knew that everything that Owen had done was his fault, and for once he had to put his mission above the person who he still loved. 

    Because he did, Curt realized. He still loved Owen, after four years of mourning him, and then seeing him again and realizing that the person who he still loved despised him.

    “I must have hated you almost as much as you did.”

    He didn’t know if that was possible. The depths of self loathing that he had sunk to in the time following Owen’s death felt pretty hard to beat. But god, if Owen somehow did hate him that much-- not that he would blame him-- he felt like every part of his body was screaming in agony, his heart shattering into jagged pieces.

    “I need to fix this.” There was so much meaning in that. He needed to fix something, make some difference, and honestly he didn’t know if he could fix anything with Owen. He didn’t know if he should, and as much as he wanted to, he had no idea if he could. But at least if he destroyed the compound, he’d be doing something. And maybe he could forget even for just a second that his ex was still alive and wanted nothing more than to kill him.

    Tatiana grasped his forearm, and somehow she seemed to understand what he was trying to say. She hesitated for a second. “What do you want me to do about Owen?”

    He opened his mouth, but had no idea what to say. Try to convince him to come back? Knock him out and force him to come back? Kill him?

    Even imagining the last one made his stomach churn. 

    “I don’t know.” His voice was soft, and he could see the sympathy in Tatiana’s eyes.

    “Go.”

    Curt contacted Barb, programmed the bomb to go off on a timer, and planted it inside the facility. He set it for eight minutes, forcing away the flashback of the last time he set a timer and how horribly wrong it went. He promised himself that he would never again try to set some record or show off if it was possible one of his friends could get hurt because of it. 

    He could make sure in the future that Tatiana and any of his other friends--he pushed away the memory of the informant slumped on the ground, yet another friend dead because of him-- would live. He couldn’t lose anyone else. He didn’t really care what would happen to him; he would have traded any amount of torture and pain for Owen not having fallen, for Owen being alive and safe.

    He paused a couple hundred feet from the compound, watching the smoke and fire explode high into the sky, showering the forest with ash and bits of rubble.

    This was so much like last time. Alone, without Owen, watching another facility explode, feeling that same burning pain that he had four years ago. Even if Tatiana killed Owen, he doubted he could just accept it and move on. It was four years after his fall and he was still seeing Owen every time he turned around. 

    He tried to imagine his life in five, ten, twenty years without Owen, but couldn’t see a future. Just like four years ago, just like last year, any vision he had of the future had Owen by his side.

    Curt turned and left, heading to the safe house where he would wait for Tatiana. He had no clue what was going to happen, if she was going to walk through that door alone, or carrying Owen, alive but injured, or holding his dead body. 

    He sank onto one of the small chairs and watched the clock.

    Three hours went by in silence. Then he heard the door creak open, and, heart in his mouth, knowing that what he saw would determine his future, turned around.

Chapter Text

Tatiana was there, her hands covered in blood, and looking tired and dirty but not otherwise injured, and carrying Owen, slung over her shoulder in a fireman’s carry.

    Curt checked her over, and forced a smile on his face, but his eyes kept drifting back to his partner. From the angle he was at, he couldn’t see if he was breathing or not. He had to be. She wouldn’t kill him and take him back here, would she? Or maybe she would, because it would be just as bad to leave him lying in some dirty facility. 

    “Are you okay?” His voice was forced, and he didn’t have enough energy to fake that he wasn’t in the middle of a breakdown. 

    “I’m fine.” She gently laid Owen down on the couch, then took a step back, seeming to take a second to collect herself before getting ready to work. From the second Owen was set down, Curt couldn’t look away, and hated himself for the rush of relief when he saw Owen’s chest moving. He was alive.

    In bad condition, Curt realized, as his eyes swept across the leg wound that was crusted with too much blood to see the actual wound, as well as the broken arm, but alive.

    “What happened?”

    Tatiana smiled tiredly, a hint of sadness in her eyes. “He was surprised to see me for sure, and seemed almost torn between not wanting to hurt me and doing everything he could to kill me. He could see he wanted to talk to you and not me, and I thought if there was any chance that you could at least get closure, I’d try to bring him back. He fought and that’s where I got this,” She gestured to a long cut on her arm that Curt hadn’t noticed, “But I didn’t-- I didn’t want to kill him unless I knew if you wanted him dead.”

    Curt pasted a smile on his face. “Thanks.” He didn’t need to say anything more; she knew exactly what was going through his mind. 

    “Is he going to be okay?”

Tatiana grimaced. “We need to check him over, sew up the wounds and see. If he wakes up, I think he will, but there was a lot of blood loss.”

    Curt’s heart ached. He was alive, but from the amount of blood staining the couch, he might not be for long. “What do you need me to do?”

    “You need to get a first aid kit and start cleaning his wounds. I’ll set his arm, but we need to deal with the blood loss fast before it becomes too much.”

    He nodded, spurred into action and leapt up, hurrying into the bathroom and frantically opening and closing drawers. There had to be a kit somewhere-- There! He pulled out the kit, opening the lid quickly to check for contents. All there was was a small roll of bandages, some antibacterial cream, and a tiny spool of thread and a needle. He sighed, grabbing the box and rushing into the other room, forcing himself not to freeze when he saw Owen, lying deathly still, covered in far too much blood.

    “Curt!” Tatiana’s voice was sharp as she used a soft cloth to try to clean the wound on Owen’s leg that was still bleeding profusely. He shook himself out of his trance and sank down next to his former partner’s side, pulling out the needle and thread before staring at the wound, daunted. Owen had been the medical expert out of the two of them, and the few times Curt needed to do something to heal Owen, his partner had always talked him through it. Now, he was on his own.

    “You need to sew it up now and wrap it. If he loses much more blood the best case scenario is that he just doesn’t wake up but survives the night.”

    “That’s the best case?!” Curt was starting to breathe faster as his hands started to shake.

    “Worst case is he doesn’t make it through this.”

    He took a deep breath, and got to work, forcing himself to keep his mind clear despite the terror and dizziness that accompanied seeing Owen like this, and guided by Tatiana he cleaned up the wound. He sterilized the needle and cleaned his hands, then focused on the injury, his stomach churning at the deep wound and blood as he stitched it up, Tatiana working on setting and splinting his arm. 

    He finally finished, feeling somewhat lightheaded, and wrapped the injury tightly in a thick bandage.

    Owen hadn’t moved since he had been laid down, and if it wasn’t for the slight movement of his chest, Curt would have thought he was dead.

    He was pale, far paler than he should be, and looked like a wreck. His leg was still covered in dried blood, and he had a small head wound, that, while likely not too serious on its own, coupled with the heavy blood loss from his leg, might be too much. Curt felt sick. Head wounds always bled a lot. That on it’s own wouldn’t be too much of a problem, and he likely didn’t have a concussion, but he had lost enough blood that he couldn’t tell if Owen would even wake up.

    If he would even survive much longer.

    He ran a hand down his face, feeling the absolute exhaustion that had settled over him. He was more mentally and physically tired than he had been in years, and wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed and try to sleep away his life. But one of them had to stay with Owen and make sure he was okay. 

    “I’m alright, you can go.”

    Tatiana was watching him suspiciously, but nodded. “It’ll be okay.”

    He couldn’t fake a smile, so he just nodded and returned his gaze to his partner.

The night passed slowly, with Curt finally going to bed at around four, and Tatiana taking over watching Owen. 

    He was woken only an hour later from nightmares of Owen’s bloody death to Tatiana screaming his name.

    He flew from the room, staggering down the hall to see Tatiana, grabbing-- oh shit what was happening why did she have a defibrillator oh no that meant--

    “What’s-- what’s--”

    She looked up at him briefly, before focusing back on Owen. “His heart stopped.”

    Curt could feel his chest tighten. A numb haze descended over him and he felt cold and tingly. Owen was-- no he couldn’t-- he was--

    “Curt!” Tatiana was shoving something into his hands, and he took it blindly, following her instructions, feeling the dark hole of fear gaping inside of him. He felt dizzy as he stared at Owen.

    He couldn’t be dead-- his heart couldn’t-- he was fine just an hour ago--

    Owen was far too pale, and far too still.

    He hardly registered Tatiana shocking him once. He did notice that Owen stayed silent. Stayed pale and unmoving.

    He could feel tears building in his eyes, feel the panic filling him. He couldn’t lose him, not now--

    Owen was shocked a second time. And then his heart started beating again.

    Curt felt weak and dizzy as Tatiana checked on his wound, redressing it and putting some more antibacterial cream on it to stave off infection.

    He was alive. For now.

    He was furious at himself for not doing anything, for watching as Tatiana managed to save his life, but he still felt frozen in the nightmare. 

    He could feel Tatiana gently leading him from the room and sitting him down at the table, giving him a cup of coffee.

    “Are you alright?”

    Her voice was softer than he had ever heard it.

    Curt took a deep breath, trying to slow down his breathing and stop the shudders and panicky feeling that had descended over him.

    “Not really.”

    He felt her put her hand on his shoulder. “We’ll get through this.”

    Curt pulled a smile that felt fake even to himself as he drank his coffee. Owen was alive in the next room, but just for now. Maybe in five minutes, maybe ten, maybe tomorrow he could be gone. If-- until -- he woke up they wouldn’t know how he was really doing.

    He was still exhausted, but couldn’t go to bed, not right now. He was far too wired after the near escape to rest, but all he wanted was to be able to ignore the world, even if just for a few hours.

Chapter Text

Curt ended up not getting any sleep at all, instead settling himself down next to Owen as Tatiana went to get a few more hours of rest.

    He tried to read a book, or distract himself with one of the puzzles he found on the shelf, but couldn’t get himself to focus on anything other than Owen. He was terrified that if he stopped paying attention to Owen for even a minute, his heart would stop again and this time not be able to be restarted.

    The one time he was able to force himself to pay attention to the book he was holding, he suddenly panicked because what if he didn’t notice Owen stop breathing and by the time he realized it was too late to save him and it was his fault that Owen died again just as he got him back , and so he resigned himself to just watching Owen breathe, comforted only by the knowledge that his former partner was still alive.

    Tatiana checked on them a few hours later, asked how Owen was doing, and reminded him to check his wounds before leaving to shower.

    Curt had checked Owen’s bandages pretty recently, and even though it still looked pretty bad, there weren’t any signs of infection and he had stopped losing blood.

    He knew that the fact that Owen had made it through the night meant that he would likely continue to survive, but it wasn’t certain, and the fear of the what ifs was what controlled him and forced him to continue sitting there, leaned up against the couch and trying not to think too much.

    Tatiana had said that it would be likely he would wake up soon, and even though he would likely be tired and not doing much for the next week at the least, if he woke up it would make it likely he would be fine. 

    When Curt’s mind started spiraling again, he turned his focus back to watching Owen, truly studying him for the first time now that his life wasn’t in immediate danger and he wasn’t in direct danger of being killed by him.

    His partner’s face was relaxed in the kind of way that it very rarely was, like how it used to be when he was in a deep sleep next to Curt in one of the hotels they used to stay in. The arm that Tatiana had broken was set, and was wrapped tightly in cloth. His hair had come loose from the gel that generally kept it slicked back, and curled gently around his face. Curt couldn’t bring himself to reach out, but it looked just as soft as it did four years ago. He had the crazy urge to wonder out loud if Owen used the same conditioner that he used to, and then decided that he wouldn’t just to preserve Tatiana’s idea that he still retained some sanity after everything that had happened. He sighed, staring at Owen again, seeing the familiar features that he still loved, but that now brought so much pain just to look at. 

The ironic thought that this was the second time that Tatiana had knocked Owen out to help Curt flitted through his mind, made even more wild by the fact that it happened twice in three days after only knowing Tatiana about a week. It wasn’t funny, but everything in his life had gone to shit and he let out a small hysterical giggle, and then another, before he started to wheeze with somewhat crazed laughter,  still leaning against the side of the couch. Tatiana was looking at him, somewhat concerned, but he wasn’t paying attention. After losing his partner and taking four years off, finally returning only to get tortured by the Deadliest Man Alive on his first mission back who had some strange vendetta against him who later revealed himself to be the love of his life who was wearing a mask that he somehow hadn’t noticed (he thought he could recognize Owen’s voice no matter what accent he was using, and it hurt that he hadn’t realized) and then was knocked out and now lying on Curt’s couch, he felt he deserved some slack. 

He looked up again, composing himself, and jerked back to see Owen’s eyes open. They were the same dark brown that he loved, but were guarded, much like how they were when they first met and started working together. He couldn’t see the hate and betrayal that he had seen when Owen first revealed himself as the Deadliest Man Alive, but this emotionless guarded look was almost worse. There was no expression, no feeling. 

Curt watched his partner hesitantly, unsure of what he was going to do. “Owen?”

Owen watched him, but didn’t react. “How are you feeling? Can you talk to me?”

Owen still didn’t move, just stared at Curt. He could feel tears building in his eyes, but pushed them away. He wasn’t the victim here, he wasn’t the one betrayed and wronged no matter how hurt he was at what Owen had done.

“Tati, could you-- could you give us a minute?” He heard Tatiana stand up and leave the room, closing the door behind her quietly, but he still didn’t look away from Owen.

He reached out slowly, intending to put his hand on Owen’s, but retracted it hastily when his partner flinched away. 

“Can you talk to me? Does something hurt?”

Owen still didn’t respond, just watched him. He didn’t look angry, or hurt, or even sad. He just looked done.

“Do you want to be left alone?” He didn’t want to leave him, but knew Owen probably didn’t want him there. 

There was a long pause before Owen nodded slowly. Curt nodded sadly and stood up. “I’m going to get you a glass of water, and then I’ll let you rest. Maybe we can talk-- tomorrow? I know you hate me and you have every right to, and I’m sorry. I’m not asking you to forgive me, I’m just asking you to talk about this. I want to help you, even--” He closed his eyes. Owen would be better off without him. “Even though I know that you are going to be better off away from me.”

Owen’s eyes flickered away, and Curt stood, filling up a glass of water and setting it on the table, within reach. “Call me if you need me.”

He stood and left the room, forcing himself not to look back. He closed the door behind him, and walked into the small kitchen, where he saw Tatiana waiting at the table for him. He could see her eyebrows raise in question, but he felt incredibly drained. 

He slumped into the chair across from her and rested his head on his hands. She didn't speak, but he could hear her move to sit next to him, and gently place her hand on his back. “You can let it out.”

He started to cry. Four years of pain and heartbreak, coupled with betrayal, confusion and now the whiplash of having Owen here, but not responding all were let out in loud sobs. She didn’t comment, didn’t make fun of him, just softly whispered assurances.

“You’re going to be okay.”

He raised his head, looking at her through blurry eyes.  “How could you know that?”

She smiled softly. “Because I know you, and I know that whatever happens with Owen, you’ll be able to get through it.”

He smiled at her, smile wobbly but genuine. “I hope so.”

 

Chapter Text

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.

“Of course.”

Chapter Text

Curt heard footsteps about twenty minutes later leading to the bathroom, then back into the living room a couple minutes later, and then it was silent again. Tatiana glanced up at him, raising an eyebrow. 

Curt blushed a little as he realized he hadn’t talked to her about letting him go. “I-- if I want to try to get him to learn to be able to trust me again I can’t force him to stay.”

She nodded. “And you’re sure that he’s not going to try to kill you as soon as your back is turned?”

Curt looked down. He wanted to say that yes, he knew, but he didn't. He didn’t know Owen anymore, didn’t know what had happened to him in the past four years. “I don’t know.”

She fixed him with a level stare. “You want so desperately to trust him that you’re willing to let him hurt you.”

Curt looked up at her, knowing that he had problems but not really caring. “I don’t care if he hurt me. I won’t let him hurt you, but I would’ve let him kill me. Would. I don’t know.”

She watched him carefully. “You need to forgive yourself.”

“I’m fine.”

She raised an eyebrow. “You’re really not.”

“I’m-- Owen is the one who needs help.”

She placed a hand on his shoulder, forcing him to meet her eyes. “He does need help, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need help as well. Needing help doesn’t make you weak. Owen has been through a lot in the past four years, most of which I know we don’t know about, but that doesn’t make what you went through doesn’t mean anything or isn’t real.”

He smiled a little at her. “I just-- I want to feel better, I really do. But I don’t have the right to feel good, to be okay, when I’m the reason that Owen’s life was destroyed.”

“Curtis Mega.”

Curt’s mouth opened a little at how much Tatiana sounded like his mom. “Tati--”

“No. This is your time to listen. I told you before, a spy is a spy. The facility was exploding. You didn’t have time to go back for him. You thought he was gone. It wasn’t your fault.”

“Owen said it was.”

“Owen’s in pain, and he has the right to be, but that doesn’t mean that your pain at losing him and then having him return and be mad at you isn’t justified.”

Curt sighed. “I can’t-- can we talk more later? But thank you, Tati. I’m so glad you’re here.”

Tatiana smiled. “Of course. It’ll be okay.”

Curt flashed a smile, but couldn’t muster any happiness behind it. “I hope so.”

He wandered into the small study, glancing at the still shut door to the living room. He’d give Owen as much time as he needed. He ran his finger along the wooden bookshelves, scanning the titles for anything familiar. There were a few Shakespeare plays that he thought Owen would probably enjoy-- he was probably the most dramatic theatre kid that a spy could be-- as well as some psychology novels that looked interesting. He scanned the titles, and ended up pulling out a science fiction short story collection, and after a moment of hesitation, decided to take the plays out as well. Maybe Owen would like something to read.

He paused for a moment before deciding not to knock and enter. He’d give Owen a little more time on his own before he went in. He instead settled down in a chair, and started to read. The stories were interesting, some that he had read before and some new ones, but he was too preoccupied with Owen and everything else to really enjoy it. 

After an hour and a half of staring blankly at the page, Curt eventually gave up, heading back into the kitchen to make himself coffee. It was late morning now-- oh god he still had at least ten hours left of the day before he could go to bed-- and he was already going stir crazy. He just wanted to be able to feel useful, but he was probably fired from the American Secret Service; that reminded him, he should probably check in with Cynthia, and now he was living with the best friend that he had who he had only known for almost a week and his ex boyfriend (boyfriend? They never officially broke up but they were probably broken up, right? Right? Death, whether fake or assumed or otherwise generally broke couples up? Or did it not count if they were presumed dead and came back?) who had tortured him while wearing a mask to pretend to be the Deadliest Man Alive.

That was another thing. Owen had always tried to injure first, and didn’t shoot to kill unless it was absolutely necessary. But he had killed 1147 people in 4 years? He felt a familiar sinking feeling. Maybe it was a cover, or some ruse, but he was feeling more and more like he didn’t know Owen at all.

“Hey Tati.” Curt poured the coffee, tossing in five sugar cubes and making it more sugar than coffee, something that always made Owen wrinkle his nose in distaste as he sipped his unholy pure black coffee monstrosity, with no sugar or milk. He rarely drank coffee, generally preferring tea, but sometimes when he was tired or wanted a caffeine kick went for coffee. 

“Hey.”

He took a sip, relishing in the sugary drink as he took in the room, looking just the same and just as boring as when he had left it an hour and a half before.

“Owen was here a few minutes ago.”

Curt almost spit out his drink, surprised. “How’s he doing?” 

Tatiana smiled. “He’s doing okay I think. As well as he could be. He talked to me, actually.”

Curt's head whipped up. “He did?”

“Yeah. He didn’t talk much, but he was polite. He asked some stuff about you as well.”

It stung that Owen would talk to Tatiana and not him, but he considered it justified and it was far overshadowed by the fact that he was talking to them.

“What did he ask about?”

Tatiana looked away. “I don’t want to say just because I want him to be able to trust me or feel like he can talk to me. You need to talk to him, Curt.”

Curt looked down. “I’m just scared he’s going to say that he never wants to see me again. At least if I don’t ask then-- then when he leaves then I won’t have to hear him say he hates me again.”

Tatiana gave him a gentle smile. “You need to talk to him.”

Curt nodded and braced himself. Maybe he’d just give Owen the plays so that he would have something to do. He could also talk to him a little if Owen wanted to. Mainly, he just wanted to see him, see that he was doing alright.

He knocked softly on the door and pushed it open, almost chickening out, but then braced himself and let himself into the room. 

“I brought you some plays. They were in the other room. I don’t know if there’s something else you’d like, but, uh, I know you used to enjoy reading them. There’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” , “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” , and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” . If you’d like.” He offered the plays, and to his surprise, Owen reached out and took them, giving him a small smile.

There was also Macbeth and Hamlet in the study, but Curt thought that maybe not giving him murder-y plays could be a good idea. He paused, wanting to talk, but then turned away. “I can bring you lunch in a few minutes, if you’d like.” He saw Owen’s nod and was about to leave when he heard him.

“I heard you, talking to Tatiana. I don’t hate you, you know.”

Curt turned around, incredibly hopeful despite himself. “You--you don’t?”

“I wanted to. Want to. You’re hard to hate, Curt Mega.”

Curt looked down. “I-- thank you. I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me though. I shouldn't have left you, I just-- I thought you were gone and-- if I could go back, I would’ve stayed. Whether you were gone or not, I should’ve died with you, and I can't fix that. I’m sorry.”

Owen looked at him for a long moment. “You didn’t used to be like this.”

“Like what?” Curt was surprised that Owen was still talking to him, but thrilled nonetheless.

“So self-deprecating. Like you don’t think you’re worth anything.”

Curt looked away. “What happened to you was my fault, and I can’t fix it no matter how much I want to.”

Their eyes met for a long moment, and then Owen spoke again, his voice quieter. “I don’t hate you. I wanted to, but I get it. You thought I was gone, and I could’ve found you when I got out. I was mad at everything, and you were my focus so I assigned all the blame to you.”

Curt didn’t react. “Did-- what happened to you? After the explosion? How did you get out?”

Owen stiffened and his eyes flickered down.  “Don’t ask me that.”

Curt nodded, hastily backtracking. “I wouldn’t ever force you to tell me anything. Only if you ever want to. I-- I want to be friends again. If you want. I’d get if you don’t, but--yeah.”

Owen nodded, not meeting his gaze, but his voice was sure. “I’d like to try to be friends again as well.”

Curt smiled a little, a weak shaky smile, but a smile nonetheless. “I’ll bring you some lunch in a minute.”