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They decided to take a nap. In turns, of course, just in case the knocker decided to stop fucking around while they were both asleep. No matter how much smaller the odds were of being attacked in broad daylight, they were not gone. And Curt's safehouse was so isolated that they probably could have held them there for days without anyone from the town noticing. And a lot of things can happen in a few days in jobs such as theirs.

Curt was currently sleeping in the now only bedroom that didn’t have a shattered window, and Owen was standing guard in the chair in the corner because of course he was. He felt… strangely safe. Maybe it was the closed blinds, maybe it was Curt’s slow breathing. Maybe it was the subtle intimacy of a silent bedroom. Maybe it was the gun in his hand. Who could say?

He leaned back in his chair. It was quiet in there. 

Peaceful.

Don’t fall asleep .

“Christ…” he murmured, rubbing his eyes. The whole point of this was that he wasn’t supposed to fall asleep, but looking at Curt’s sleeping face and hearing his quiet snoring was like the slowest tranquilizer he’d ever been exposed to. It was like a lullaby, inviting and gentle and very dangerous for an agent on guard duty.

Curt looked downright angelic when he was asleep. The first time he’d seen him asleep, Owen had written it off as him being cuter when he wasn’t talking, which wasn’t entirely inaccurate. However. His sleeping face was more than that. It was the face of a man who could only find peace in his sleep; only in deep, dreamless sleep. He looked most beautiful when there was no trace of pain, worry, or any sort of agitation on his face. So, almost never. Owen took his time to admire the rare sight before him, on account of having literally nothing else to do. 

And maybe enjoying it, just a little bit.

Lovely .

 

When it was his turn to sleep, he was almost disappointed. Yes, he was exhausted, but he wasn’t fond of the idea of leaving Curt alone when he had the self control of a squirrel on crack. Curt denied it, of course. But they both knew. 

His nap started out as rather uneventful. Dark clouds stirred sluggishly in his sleeping conscience, silent and unthreatening, and warm like a blanket pulled around his tired shoulders. 

Then something changed.

A gunshot .

The clouds shattered into a sharp rain of glass. Raining down, down, down. Duck !! 

Owen dropped to the ground, shielding his head and neck from the shards and letting his thick jacket do the rest. He was fine. He was fine

The sky was red.

With pretty purple swirls, violent purple, like bruises, like a shattered limb. 

Red and purple, the colours of pain.

He felt somewhat upset, all of a sudden. No, not upset. Devastated. Like something terrible had happened, something so horrifying that he’d blocked it out completely. He felt the most crushing grief he’d felt in years, falling on his shoulders like a rain of rocks, pressing down, squeezing his lungs. 

It hurt .

The pressure was agonizing. 

He wanted to sob. 

Scream. 

Run. 

Move. 

Do something

But he couldn’t.

And then, all of a sudden, the pressure was lifted off his back, and he screamed , the most guttural scream in his life. Loud and desperate, so loud that it wasn’t his voice, not only his voice at least, but thousands of voices overlapping, loud, loud, loud .

He recognized some of them. His parents. His sister. His old friends from high school. His boss. Cynthia. And Curt.

They were all so different, ranging from calm to angry to desperate, and Curt’s voice began to ring louder than the rest.

Owen !”

It was so loud. Was he still screaming?

Owen, stop !”

His hands were shooting out before he knew, to grab something, anything , to squeeze it tight until it broke, and now there was rage where despair had been.

Owen ! No !”

 

He opened his eyes and the sky was grey. No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t the sky. It was the ceiling of a dark room, and his hands were clenched tight around his own leg. No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t his leg. It was someone else’s arm.

It was Curt’s arm.

Owen pulled his arm back like it had been burned, and it felt like it. His hand burned with the strength of his own bruising grip. 

Curt was perched on the side of the bed, placing all his weight on his good leg and the corresponding arm. Owen realized he’d been dragging him towards him, making his stance increasingly precarious. 

“Jesus, Owen…” his partner sighed, flopping down on the bed, "Are you okay? I’ve never heard you scream like that, and I saw you lose a fingernail.”

They both shivered for just a moment. Owen slicked his hair back with a heavy, erratic breath: “It’s fine. I’m fine. Sorry I scared you, old boy.” 

“That didn’t sound fine.”

“I didn’t mean to scream out loud.”

“Well, you kinda did.” Curt tilted his head, “Out with it, doll. What’s up?”

“No.”

“Owen-”

“Even if I wanted to tell you, and I don’t…” he clarified, “Nothing happened. Not really. It was so… surreal. I couldn’t tell you what upset me, because I don’t know.”

Curt didn’t seem to believe him, but that was his own fault. He was telling the truth; whether Curt believed him or not was not his business.

“Okay.” he agreed, finally. 

 

To say they were well-rested when night fell would be a lie. Still, their aim was fine and their reflexes fast, so they would probably be alright. Probably.

Curt was sitting in the bedroom again, hiding so that it would be absolutely impossible to see him there.

Owen was once again hidden outside the front door. 

It was 5am and there was no way their stalker could arrive from either side of the house unseen. Owen felt admittedly nervous being separated from Curt for half an hour when they were the explicit target. Alone outside an empty house, he almost regretted not calling either of their agencies. Briefly.

The breeze was kind of chilly that morning. 

Owen decided at that exact moment that he hated Springwood, Ohio. 

It was almost 5:15am and an inexplicable bout of anxiety washed over him without warning. Why? It wasn’t the first time they’d found themselves hiding and waiting. It wasn’t the first time they’d been separated. Why was this different? 

It was 5:23am and he was getting nervous. He really wished he hadn’t gone into hiding so soon. He checked the safety for the fifth time. It was off. Good. He didn't want to lose a single second when the bastard came knocking.

5:25am. He felt terribly anxious to be done with it. He wanted it to be over, over and done with, he wanted them to go back to the illusion of safety they’d known before this fucker came.

5:28am. He wanted to shoot something on principle.

5:29am. 

Knock knock .

The knock wasn’t coming from the door. Or the window. 

Crash !

Owen nearly fell out of his hiding place, scrambling to the door once again. The window in the living room was broken from the inside, completely shattered, and the morning breeze hit his face worse than a cannonball. He froze and moved at just the right moment to avoid the bullet that barely grazed past his shoulder and embedded itself in the wall.

Owen !” 

" I'm fine !" he shouted back, sprinting towards the window. Something stopped him, though. Namely, Curt grabbing onto his arm.

He couldn't hide his irritation: "What??" he hissed, but all the venom fled his tone when Curt collapsed into his arms, "Curt! Did they-"

"I'm fine!" he groaned, sinking into the couch with some help, "I fell on my fucking knee- ah!" he gasped as soon as Owen's fingers brushed against his once recovering knee, "Owen, that fucking hurts !"

"Sorry."

"I shot you!"

"You missed, love."

“I thought you were-” Curt gasped again as his knee struck the ground: “I thought you were that fucker- shit- Owen, he knocked on my door. The bedroom door.”

Owen felt his heart stop for a moment: “You mean-”

“He was inside the house !”