For a moment, Owen thought he was winning. He’d overestimated himself and underestimated Curt. Once upon a time he was one step ahead- always just that bit better than his old partner. Always. Now he wasn’t so sure. They’d spent years together and Owen had never seen Curt look so wild, so dangerous. In other circumstances he’d probably find it attractive.
These weren’t the right circumstances, by any measure. Curt had the pistol lined perfectly up at his skull and it didn’t look like he was going to back down. Owen didn’t want to die. Not really. He knew the consequences of being a spy. A spy shouldn’t be afraid of death. He wasn’t sure whether he was afraid of death or afraid of dying by Curt’s hands.
After all he’d loved him once. Maybe he still did. Maybe there was a part of him that could forgive Curt, see past what had happened and just get on with it. It was probably too late for that now. He was furious and he’d let that rage fester into something bigger than he’d ever imagined, something greater and untamed than he was able to cope with. It led him to believe he’d be the one standing with the gun to Curt’s head. How did it end up this way? No, Owen really didn’t want to die. Especially not in a dingy old warehouse, and certainly not by Curt’s hand. He’d once hoped that he would die a hero’s death. That the world would remember him as someone great. He then realised that the world wouldn’t remember him at all. Maybe his name would be mentioned in passing, in hushed tones down in some washed up pub. Instead they’d remember Curt Mega. Of course they would. Curt Mega, the cocky, insufferable bastard that he was.
They’d remember him as a hero. Every mistake he’d ever made would be erased. He’d become infallible. That just made Owen more angry. Angry that a man like Curt Mega would lead the life he desperately wanted, the life he’d spent four years working for. Mega didn’t deserve to be a hero. A hero doesn’t leave his partner to die. Owen would’ve risked his life if it meant saving Curt because he wasn’t a coward. Curt was a coward. At least he used to be, Owen couldn’t quite tell anymore. The old Curt wouldn’t be able to stand there so defiantly and threaten to take Owen’s life. The old Curt wouldn’t dream of it. People change, Owen certainly had. It only made sense that Curt would change too.
Light began to slip through the cracks in the walls, illuminating the scene in a somewhat ironic way. The white light washed over the two men.
“You know, killing me won’t take the systems offline so...” Owen said. “What are you doing?”
Curt stood true with burning ice in his eyes. There was nothing but fury and bitterness paired with regret. The tension in the air was thick but the animosity between them felt suffocating. Was there really no turning back from this? Owen wasn’t ready to die; he wasn’t ready to fade into obscurity. Owen didn’t want it to end like this. It couldn’t end like this. Surely, Curt wouldn’t kill him. It was Curt. Owen wanted to believe he didn’t have it in him- he needed to believe it.
“Taking your advice.” Curt spat.
Owen didn’t get to respond.
As soon as Curt pulled the trigger he felt the regret settle in. It infested his mind like poison and collapsed the walls he’d built. His gun clattered to the ground and down the wooden steps, falling to the floor. The sound echoed the warehouse, mimicking that of the trigger being pulled just seconds before. Curt caught Owen in his arms before he could hit the ground. Owen’s body twitched meaninglessly in Curt’s grip before stopping still. Blood was trickling down his face faster than Curt could wipe it away. The murky red soaked into his hair, his clothes, his skin. Curt’s hands were covered.
“Owen? Oh god. Oh god. Shit. Shit. Shit.” Curt cried breathlessly. “C’mon buddy...I didn’t mean it. Fuck. Wake up, please. You aren’t dead. You can’t be. I-I’m a terrible shot. Owen? I’m sorry. Jesus Christ I’m so sorry. Owen, please. I still love you.”
One look into Owen’s eyes told him all he needed to know.
He killed his best friend.
He’d actually done it. No do-overs, no retries. Owen was dead, and it was all Curt’s fault. Tears escaped down his cheeks as he cradled Owen’s cold corpse. Broken sobs wracked his body as he held Owen tighter. It was too late to say goodbye, to say all the things he wanted to tell Owen. How much he loved him, how his life had felt so empty without him. So many words and emotions and thoughts, and none of them would ever be spoken aloud. The one chance he’d had at getting his partner back-his one and only love-and he’d gone and shot him. Typical Curt. Ruining everything he’d ever held dear was almost like a skill; a really bad, unwanted skill. One that Curt wished he didn’t possess. What kind of spy was he if he couldn’t even negotiate with someone he was once so close to? What type of man shoots his own friend without even thinking for a second that there was another route?
Owen was right, he’d always lose. Men like Curt didn’t get the luxury of success. He didn’t deserve it; he was a foolish, murderous coward- not to mention a liar and a cheat and spy. Curt was a terrible spy, the worst of the worst. Curt gently interlocked his fingers with Owen’s, silently hoping they would do the same. They didn’t.
Owen’s hands were freezing, and it reminded him of the times when Owen would come back from the store in winter and slip his hands into Curt’s to ‘get warm again’, or when they’d return from a really fucked up mission and Owen would just take his hands and hold him close whilst whispering promises of how he’d never let anyone hurt him-of how he’d love him forever even though the world was against them. He’d tighten his grip and press soft kisses to his cheek until the bad memories became nothing more but blurs. Sure, they were battered and bruised but they had each other. Cuts still marred Owen’s knuckles, old and new, and Curt wondered how many of them were because of him. He wondered how much anguish and rage he’d caused Owen over the years.
“Curt?” Tatiana called out. “Curt? What’s going on? Did your turn your tracker off? Barb and I were worried, but good news! She’s destroyed the island facility.”
“There’s more.” Curt replied, his voice dry and throat raw.
“What? There’s more what, Curt?” She rounded into view, forehead creased into lines of confusion.
“More facilities. Don’t know how many. Just know there’s more.” Curt said.
Tatiana stood at the foot of the stairs, squinting a little bit. The confused look on her face was prevalent as it took her a few seconds to realise what had happened. Curt watched her face melt from confusion to worry in a matter of moments.
“Oh my god. Are you hurt? What happened? Curt you’re covered in blood.” She rasped. “We need to get out of here and get you to a hospital or something.”
“ ‘m not hurt,” He explained. “Owen’s blood. Shot him. He’s dead. Tatiana I killed him.” Curt whimpered whilst his voice cracked.
“You did what had to be done.”
“Don’t. Don’t you dare! Owen didn’t have to die, I could’ve saved him. Could’ve done better.” He was filled with a momentarty bout of fury, projecting his anger and hurt into his words.
“Stop being ridiculous. We are spies, no? This is our job. This is what we do Curt. Sometimes people have to die. He was endangering the world. There was no other way.” She reasoned.
“No. No. I can’t accept that. Owen wasn’t just a person. He’s not just another crook we can cross off our list. He was my friend, my partner. We were-“ Curt choked out the last of his sentence, unable to finish. Tatiana knew he wasn’t ‘normal’. She didn’t care, but he’d never said it out loud. Not to anyone but Owen.
“I know Curt, I know. But we have to go now.” The Russian urged, slowly pacing up the stairs.
“I can’t leave him Tatiana. Not again. I can’t let his body rot in this fucking warehouse.” Curt begged, arms still wrapped helplessly around Owen’s body.
“I- We can’t drag a body out onto the streets Curt. It just isn’t possible.” Tatiana sighed as she knelt down beside him. “Without the agency behind you, we can’t do anything. There’s no private jet to get us from A to B. We have to leave him here, whether you like it or not. Now get off your ass and get moving.” She stood up, pretending to dust some non-existent dirt off her jeans (although Curt suspected she was checking herself over for blood).
Although he hated to admit it, Tatiana was right. Bringing a dead body into the streets of America wasn’t a good idea and like she said- there was no agency backing them up. Sure, they had Barb but there wasn’t much she could do in forms of transportation. Curt hated to do it, it tore him apart to think that he’d have to leave Owen once again. This time for real. No chances of a mysterious return five years later (although Curt didn’t think he’d be too opposed to it at this point), Owen really was dead and that was that. This was his final goodbye to the man he’d shared his darkest moments with, but also the man who made his life a million times brighter. Curt never thought he’d know love because of what he was, but then he met Owen.
Leaving him was the hardest choice he’d have to make. Ever. Owen deserved a proper funeral, a real send off. He was worthy of all the glitz and glamour that came with being a spy, and nothing less. Instead he was going to waste away in a place no one would ever find his body, where no one would remember him. It was killing Curt. The grief, regret and guilt ate him alive- like a thousand wasps stinging at his heart until he felt numb and cold and empty.
So he placed Owen’s carcass gently on the staircase and stared into those soulless eyes. God, how he’d give anything to see them sparkle like they used to. Curt averted his gaze to Owen’s hand until he saw it; the thin metal band that lay around his finger. It was identical to Curt’s. Of course it wasn’t anything flashy and they only ever wore it when they were alone together, but Owen had said it was like their own sort of marriage. The law wouldn’t recognise it but they would. It was a symbol of their love and devotion towards each other. No wonder it came as a surprise that Owen was wearing it. Ever since Owen died, Curt hadn’t taken the blasted thing off. In all honesty he was worried what his finger would look like without it. He slid the ring off Owen’s finger and tucked it neatly into his coat pocket.
“I know that this must be hard for you Curt, be we really need to go. Now.” His Russian friend urged, clasping not only her gun but also Curt’s.
“Yeah I know.” He resigned.
Reluctantly he whispered his last goodbye to Owen before rising from the stairs. He hadn’t anticipated how shaky he’d feel once he stood up. Then again, he hadn’t anticipated he’d be in this situation at all. Moving down the steps and towards Tatiana felt like he was running on autopilot. Just do what had to be done. Robotically, he grabbed his gun from the redhead’s outstretched hand and swiftly placed it in the holster. Tatiana didn’t seem to notice, or she just didn’t want to say anything. Either way, Curt was thankful.
The two of them manoeuvred the warehouse with all the delicacy and skill a spy should have. Every hair on his body was alert, standing on edge. Funnily enough, Curt didn’t feel the anxiety he normally would’ve. Someone could appear from one of the many crevices and the American doubted he’d even flinch, doubted that he’d even think before firing away. Hollow, but efficient. After a while it became apparent they were the only one’s in the warehouse. Tatiana let him know they could take it a little easier. He vaguely remembered her saying something about Barb and a boat off shore, she had clean clothes that he could change into. None of it really mattered. Just do the job.
By this time, Curt usually would have almost drunk himself to death. A couple of months back he wouldn’t have even thought twice about it. Tatiana held the reigns tight, though. She’d gotten sick of finding him half deceased outside of different bars every night, so she stopped him from going. Curt didn’t really care, alcohol or no alcohol he still felt the same. Melancholic, lonely even. Barb had told him he’d just have to go through an adjustment period, he’d feel as right as rain before he knew it. Curt scoffed at the idea. Nothing felt right the first time Owen died, and he wasn’t even really dead then. Now he was and everything felt like nothing.
Around his neck was Owen’s ring, strung through a piece of thread. At least he got to keep part of Owen with him, even if Owen wouldn’t want him to. He twiddled it in his fingers mindlessly. There was chatter of a new mission, a new Chimera facility found not far from the coast of Italy. It was all Tatiana and Barb had been talking about, bursting into his apartment and bombarding him with information he really couldn’t care less about. They sat around his kitchen table, exchanging files and information and inside jokes that Curt didn’t bother to learn. It comforted him to think that Owen might’ve liked Italy. Curt would’ve liked to have gone there with him.
“...so what do you say?” Barb’s voice became distinct, like a shrill in Curt’s ear.
“Yeah, whatever.” Curt said as he waved his hand dismissively
“Were you even listening?” The scientist turned sort of field agent teased, but lately it had become more like nagging to Curt. Would she ever shut up?
“Facility not far from Italy. Tatiana and I go in and fuck shit up. I heard you.” He snapped. “I always hear you.”
Tatiana elbowed him with a glower on her face. “Play nice Curt. She’s helping us.”
“Well I didn’t ask for any fucking help, did I?” Pushing his chair back from the table with a screech, Curt glared. “I was quite happy wallowing in my own misery and drowning in the finest whiskey a five dollar bill could buy. I didn’t ask to be a part of this again!”
“I’m not playing this game with you today Curt.” Tatiana warned. “You’re going to be a part of this mission, like it or not.”
She stood up from her own chair, beckoning Barb to follow. The blonde did, scurrying after like a timid little mouse. Out of the kitchen and into the hallway, then out of the door with an angry slam.
And Curt was alone.