It took Owen a moment to process what he'd just witnessed. But, when he did… he wanted to run away too.
"Curt, what the hell?" he whispered, unconsciously backing away a step. The stranger smiled bitterly: "See? Textbook example of recent PTSD right there."
"And you had to prove it by triggering his symptoms ?" Owen shouted. The room went dead silent. The stranger fled Curt's eyes and there was Curt again, his Curt, the one who still had some semblance of empathy.
"Oh my god, I didn't think about that." he murmured, staring blankly at the wall.
"Yes, I can see that!! Curt, what the hell?"
"I didn't mean to-"
"You scared the hell out of him!!" Owen stood up, backing away a step: "You're scaring me, Curt. What happened to you?"
Curt couldn't answer him.
Owen was starting to get scared. And pissed. Mostly because Curt just wouldn't tell him what was wrong, but would do literally anything else that a sane person might think twice about doing. Like casually interrogating the same people who were harbouring them. Curt was good at casual interrogation. Slipping questions into a seemingly harmless conversation, starting with the easy ones. It was a tactic he'd used many times, and one Owen admired for several reasons, not the least of which being that it got them a decent amount of information without anyone getting hurt.
So, while he'd taken little issue with Curt interrogating the doctor, he'd taken many, many issues with what he'd done next.
So had Henri, for that matter, who was very clearly glaring at them from the hallway. His gaze fell on Owen and pierced him true, and it said, in giant glaring letters: that will never happen again or I will kick you both out myself .
Owen agreed, 100%. Damon still came in now and then, but he looked utterly miserable. Like he'd rather be literally anywhere else. And who could blame him?
He was kind to Curt, but kept his due distance. Curt hadn't tried to ask him personal questions again, and he hadn't touched him at all, probably slightly ashamed from their conversation, as he damn well should be.
He turned to Owen two days after the incident, when he was finally allowed to get out of bed: "I didn't mean to." he simply said.
"I mean…" Curt sighed, "I suck. I feel bad about… that."
"You really should."
"But also, I… I don't know, Owen. I feel like Chimera can't be all it's cracked up to be."
"I know, love. You only have to hold on one more day."
Curt's smile turned mischievous: "And what if I didn't?"
Owen cocked his brow at him, with you better not written all over his face: "Curt."
"I might not. But I might."
"Curt, we have nowhere to-"
And then Curt looked at him and he almost flinched. His eyes weren't dead anymore. They were glistening. All it took was one weak " please " from Curt, and his mind was made up.
Curt was surprisingly mobile for someone who was recovering from a broken knee, poison and severe strangulation. Although any and all mentions of leaving Chimera were enough to make something wild spark in his eyes. He just couldn't wait.
He could walk alright, thanks to a special knee brace (courtesy of osteopath Richard) that he swore he'd take off as soon as he could, in case it had a tracker in it . Owen almost rolled his eyes at him, but at least the stranger hadn't appeared. No, this sparkly-eyed bastard was all Curt, with his usual amount of manic energy plus about eight hours of sleep for two straight nights and one sugarcube he'd managed to convince Hope to give him. Owen wasn't quite sure how he'd managed to obtain it in the twenty seconds he'd been left alone with her, but he suspected he'd just asked her nicely. Hope seemed to be wary of Curt somewhat, as were the rest of the staff. But they seemed to be willing to listen to him. All except for Henri, who looked ready to murder him anytime he was forced to come within a mile of Curt's room, but Curt didn't seem to care. Good for him.
No, what bothered Owen about the escape plan was that it was way too simple.
Just walk out.
That was it.
That was all there was to it. They had seen exactly two guards in the facility, and never together. There were maybe five nurses around during the night, plus Hope, occasionally. The only problem was that said nurses included both Henri and his friend, the redhead nurse Christine, who were very obviously keeping an eye on them.
Even so, they weren't there 24/7. Nurses are busy.
So why was it so easy to enter a Chimera facility, even if it was a medical center? That was the problem.
I don't care , Curt had told him.
Few Chimera operatives had a night shift. Fewer than those who operated during the day, anyway. The entrance to the hospital building was mostly unguarded on quiet Sunday nights.
And the building slept, shuddering with fragments of quiet conversation. One, in particular, caught their attention as they attempted to sneak out.
The voice was somewhat familiar to Owen, but not enough to put a face on it.
"Tu te fiches de moi?"
That was Henri.
"Oui, bien sûr je me moque de toi." the girl deadpanned. She had a strange accent when speaking French, one Owen recognized as the typical accent of an American learning to speak the language. Henri's accent was very much French, specifically, probably of the south of France. Owen didn't know his exact accent, though.
"Sois sérieuse!" Henri scolded.
"Qu'est-ce qu'il dit?"
She answered too quietly for him to hear what she was saying.
A sharp intake of breath. The girl pressed on, and her tone turned urgent: "Ils vont le tuer."
"Ne dis pas ça. Je t'en prie."
"Ils doivent s'en aller. Maintenant."
"Ça veut dire maintenant , Henri. Immédiatement."
The rest of the conversation was too quiet to hear. From a quiet rustle, they could deduce someone had stood up. They hid behind the door as the red-haired girl, Christine, walked out of the empty patient room and into a dark hallway.
They waited until the sound of her footsteps had faded. When Owen looked at Curt, the mischievous spark was back in his eyes, and then the dead-eyed stranger was smiling at him again. Curt stood up and walked into the room without hurry, and Owen wanted to strangle him a second time because what the hell was he doing?
He determined to stay hidden unless necessary.
"Heya." he heard from inside, followed by a cold: "What do you want?" from Henri.
"Nothing, really. I was taking a nice little walk and I noticed you sulking in here."
Henri sounded tired, more than anything, but there was a desperate hint in his voice that Owen knew all too well. And Owen's French may not have been as solid as his German, but he knew enough to know a disturbing conversation when he saw it. And he had a sneaking suspicion that the they Christine spoke of were he and Curt. In essence, he had no idea where Curt was going with this and he wasn't sure he wanted to know.
"I'll go away soon enough." his partner said, "I just had one little medical curiosity to ask you."
"If I answer, will you leave me alone?"
A pause. Then, a long, heavy sigh: "What is it?"
"Does this look heavy enough to knock someone out?"
The stranger grinned at him, dragging the nurse's unconscious body out of the room.
"To the getaway car!" he smiled.