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There was a lot of guilt that came with locking the girls inside. They had known without a doubt that they’d feel terrible about it but they knew it was necessary. They had been strict before Owen got home. The twins never went to school, they never went to the parks they practically never went anywhere apart from the markets occasionally with their grandmother. Curt and Owen had always known there was a target on their daughters backs, that there were risks that came from their careers and so the safe house was where the family spent most of their time. But that changed the night Curt brought Owen home from Chimera. The girls had both been overjoyed but still slightly distrusting. Who could blame them anyway? Curt and Owen had both cried as they reunited with them, both had never truly believed they’d get to see their girls again. And things had remained almost peaceful. Owen and Curt were working on repairing their relationship although it was still turbulent. Owen was sleeping in their old bedroom while Curt had chosen to sleep on the floor of Ellie and Margaret’s room. There was still a part of him telling him to stay alert and to protect the girls in case the old version of Owen came out again. And things were figuring themselves out.

The conversation came one night when they were putting the twins to bed.

-~-~-

“Mags, it’s going to be ok, I promise. I’m going to be here the whole time.” Curt whispered softly to the slightly older of the two. She may be eleven but the nightmares still persisted, much worse than before. Curt had to make this promise to her almost every night. She nodded a little, finally laying down and taking the hand her dad offered her.

“Ok… Will papa stay too?” She asked, looking over to where Owen was tucking Ellie in. He looked up in almost surprise, hitting his head on the overhang over Ellie’s bed, causing her to let out a tired chuckle. He glanced back down to her.

“Ok little miss, it wasn’t that funny.” He smiled affectionately, back to the way he acted when they were seven, it was the time he remembered after all. “Glasses off before bed, don’t want them breaking.” He gently pulled them off of her face and put them on her bedside table before looking to Margaret, giving Curt a look indicating that he should answer.

“Well, it’s up to him if he wants to stay. I mean, I’m sure he’ll stay home with us, he just normally sleeps in our bedroom.” Curt was sat on the end of his daughters bed, looking cautiously at the other man. And Owen could read the expression well. He was still a threat to the two girls. Maybe he couldn’t hurt them but he had wronged people who wouldn’t hesitate to.

“I’ll stay in here… But I do need to have a word with your father. He’ll be back before you go to sleep, I promise.” Owen sighed, stepping towards the door and gesturing for Curt to follow him. The other man hesitated slightly before letting go of Margaret’s hand.

“I’ll be back soon, just try to get some rest.” He leant down a little to her. “It’ll be ok, Ellie’s here to protect you. I’ll just be outside.” That was the softest he ever was with anyone, apart from Owen, but they weren’t exactly like that anymore. Curt offered a gentle smile to them both before going to the door with Owen and switching off the bedroom light. Both men idled there for a moment until Ellie turned on the small lamp in the room so the two weren’t immersed in complete darkness. Curt gave a small nod before he and Owen filed out of the bedroom, softly shutting the door behind them.

Once out of sight of the girls, Curt folded his arms. “So, what did you want to discuss? You know Margaret can’t sleep without someone there.” He wasn’t frustrated. Maybe it was that being alone with Owen again made him feel uneasy, they hadn’t had a moment to themselves since the trip back to the safe house. And that had been more than uncomfortable.

“Curt, I don’t think the girls are safe around me.” Owen said softly, he sounded utterly defeated. He had tried to convince himself that coming home that slipping back into his role as a father would be easy but it wasn’t. Because he was always filled with an immense dread, and now Curt was too.

“What do you mean? You told me you changed.” It was evident how much the American was trying to steady his voice, but his unease showed. Maybe bringing his partner home had been a bad idea. But he had just wanted to reunite his family.

“No, no, Curt, I would never do anything to harm them, you know that.” Owen had impulsively grabbed Curt’s hand. He didn’t want to give the man a false idea, he didn’t want to have his family torn away a second time. “It’s Chimera. They’ll want me back, I know they’re coming after me, I know they’re going to kill me. So we need to make sure that they don’t find the house, that they don’t find the kids.” He was speaking as hushed as he could, knowing they were right outside the girls’ room.

“It’s a safe house Owen, only our family and Tatiana know of the location.” Curt hadn’t let go of his hand. “Or do you have some other concern? Do you know someone else with the location of our home?” His tone was half accusatory, half fearful, he hated the thoughts that something could happen to them. But Owen was quick to reassure him.

“They had photos, but I know they won’t think to look here, you’re a lot less bright than people would assume, love. I fed back some information a month prior to our confrontation. I told Chimera that you and the girls had moved back to mainland America. I knew they would believe me considering how much status I had managed to gain within the organisation. I couldn’t let them get to the girls. I couldn’t live with myself if anything happened… to any of you.”

The confession was surprisingly genuine and Curt felt himself believe Owen. They’d be safe here, Curt was sure of it if his partner was. He nodded a little, taking a step closer to Owen and squeezing his hand.

“So what do you propose we do to ensure they never get to Ellie and Margaret?” He asked softly and Owen sighed.

“We can’t let them leave the house again Curt, none of us can. If we ever got spotted, I have no idea what would become of us. They never left much as it is. But we can’t let them leave again.” Owen stared at him, begging him to agree silently. He couldn’t lose anyone.

“Agreed. But at least this time you’ll be around so I don’t have to entertain them constantly.” Curt smiled and chuckled lightly before gently hugging the other man, the most physical contact they’d had since his return. “It’s going to be okay Owen, this time it will all be okay.” The man in Curt’s arms nodded before the door beside them creaked open, and Ellie was there, staring at them tiredly, squinting to see.

“Margaret can’t sleep and now won’t let me sleep… Are you coming back yet?” She asked, causing both men to smile and separate. Owen nodded and picked up Ellie. She was getting too big for it now but he could still do it partially comfortably.

“We’re both going to come back.” Curt smiled, stepping into the room, giving Owen space to follow. He watched fondly as his partner carried Ellie to her side of the room before sitting on the edge of the bed. There was a mattress on the floor that Curt had been staying on and now it appeared that the four of them would all be spending their night in here. Soon, the lamp was turned out and the door was shut, Curt and Owen laying down on the ground.

“Goodnight girls.”

“Goodnight.”