“Think of the missions we served. The lives we saved. The impact we had on this world, together.”
Owen took a deep breath and steadied his gun, unable to hide the tremors coursing through his extremities. He would never let it show how close he was to giving in. How unbearably close he was to letting Curt have his way and take him down. Despite his attempts at careful listening, the haze once again filled his mind as Curt spoke.
“Look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t think we’re making a difference!”
The passion in his eyes had always been what had drawn Owen to the other agent. No matter how reckless Mega could be, and no matter much safer and in control Owen would feel alone, he always found his heart racing when he opened a case file to see that the CIA and MI6 had taken the chance to once again reunite the two men. Maybe it was the danger that Owen liked, the ferocity with which they approached deadly trials that any sane man would have never found himself anywhere near to begin with. If that was the case, things certainly have changed. The man that Curt had fought beside, befriended, loved. As far as Owen could tell, that man was long dead, and it was everything that he had loved in Curt that had proven to be his demise. Owen took a moment to compose himself, bracing himself to look finally into the eyes he once knew and avenge the good in him that had died that night.
Before he could open his mouth to speak, Curt had ran to place his hands on either side of Owen’s face, sending chills down the taller man’s spine. The clatter of metal on metal was the only indication, outside of the shock of the moment, that let Owen know he dropped his gun. His hands were locked in the same pointed position, open-palmed over where Curt’s shoulders now resided in front of him. As Owen’s arms slowly came to rest at his rides, he looked down, the distance between him and the ground becoming a dizzying reminder that this could be the end. The true end. Curt could take him down, and while Chimera will go on, It will be as if he never made it out of the compound to begin with. The death of a traitor is a death without records, after all. The sickening realization that if he were to lose this fight, his family would never know he was gone hit him hard and fast. As far as they know he’s already dead. He is just a ghost, walking amongst men. At least his legacy would remain untainted. In the eyes of the agencies, Owen Carvour died in the line of duty, serving his nation and her allies. The nation that sent him out to die in the first place.
The silence was killing Curt. He searched Owen's eyes for any indication he was still in there somewhere, but the man's gaze remained fixed on the floor, his expression walking the fine line between shock and rage.
“Owen? Hey, look at me.” Curt readjusted his grip, tightening his hands around Owen’s jaw, hoping to guide his partner’s eyes to his, but failing. “I’m gonna get you out of here.”
Curt’s voice was far too loud and tense to be in any way comforting to Owen. Too out of place now, after years of Owen’s brain twisting Curt’s once reassuring voice into that of an enemy. He looked up, finally meeting the younger man’s eyes, blinking back tears and rebuilding the wall behind his own just as fast as it had been knocked down by the familiar, yet jarring touch.
“I’m dead." Owen grabbed Curt's wrists, moving them away from his face.
"You have nothing to bring back, Curt.”
Owen was caught off guard by the coldness in his voice. His own voice, for the first time in years. Hell, He didn’t even know if this voice even belonged to him anymore. ‘Owen Carvour’ was a statistic and nothing more. A tragic accident, a word of warning to new recruits. Boys, with potential for a bright future, being sent to the same demise before they even get a chance.
“Owen.” The hurt in Curt’s eyes was enough to force Owen to look away once more. “If I had known that there was any way… If I had known that you were-” Curt took a shaky breath, taking a step back, refusing to break eye contact for even a second. ”I would have tried to save you. If you still know me as well as you used to, you know that wasn’t the choice I wanted to make! And now I have a second chance to bring you home, I’m not letting that get away. Not again.”
“You made the choice to let me go a long time ago, Agent Mega. You can’t turn back time now that the consequence of your reckless behaviour is standing right in front of you.” Owen scoffed. “You have no idea what you’ve done to me, do you? The damage you caused can never be fixed, Curt. When Chimera found me, I had made it ten feet from where I hit the ground. I dragged myself ten feet with most of the bones in my body shattered, do you have any clue what that felt like?” Recounting his fall made Owen sick to his stomach, but Curt’s almost whispered gasp in a quick, hurt reaction drove him to push down the nausea and continue. “I hear the same sounds when I fall asleep, Curt, I will never forget the sounds of shifting bones against concrete. Chimera finding me was a curse. I wished every day that I had died when I hit the ground. I will never be okay again, do you get that?!”
Owen struggled to catch his breath, his stomach churning as he faced his nightmares in the waking world. He steadied himself, shifting his weight on his feet before adjusting his posture, looking away from Curt only momentarily to wipe his eyes of tears he hadn’t felt fall.
“Christ, Owen. I can’t imagine.” Curt paused, whether it was to process the information he had just had thrown at him, or to stop himself from vomiting, he couldn’t tell. “Come with me. Please. You have a second chance. We can make this right, together. I’m sure the CIA can pull some strings you know how much Cynthia lo-”
“How can you not see Curt?” Owen maintained his distance, but the heat returned to his weakened form, and he remembered why he had agreed to help Chimera in the first place. “If you think I’m doing this for myself you never really knew me at all.” Curt tilted his head slightly, prompting Owen to elaborate. “Once the system is global, the agencies will no longer have use for men like us. Brute force is a liability, you lose agents, and with them you lose information. With our technology, we will be able to get information without ever leaving our headquarters. Nobody else has to die for a nation that only sees them as a bullet. The world is changing Curt, and It’s not going to wait for you.”
The strange thing was, Curt swore in that moment, for just a brief second, he saw hope behind Owen's cold expression. Curt silently reached for is gun, cocking it before turning it to face himself, handle towards Owen.
“Then come finish this. Now’s your chance to make your mark.” Curt took another step towards Owen, looking into his eyes and finding nothing recognizable in them. Curt knew that they couldn’t keep this up much longer.
“Come over here and finish the job! I’m not doing it Owen. I can’t lose you again.” Curt’s voice trembled despite all efforts to hide the raw emotion coursing through his veins. His eyes flickered between Owen and the gun in deafening silence, finally slipping closed when he felt Owen’s hand slide over his, lingering over the weapon.
Owen, despite his internal protests, couldn’t bring himself to disarm the man standing before him. Instead he stood there, his hand barely touching Curt’s. He had no way of knowing what that simple, seemingly imagined touch could do. It quickly crumbled every defense he had spent the past four years building. The anger, the heat, the hatred that drove him to live when all his body wanted to do was quit. It was gone before he even made contact. Owen pushed back tears before finally grabbing the gun from Curt’s steady hand. Owen turned the weapon over in his grip. His ears began to ring. There was no way Curt would make it this easy for him, right?
“What are you waiting for?! This is what you want, isn’t it?”
It wasn’t what Owen wanted. Not by a long shot. After the countless times he had planned his revenge over the years, he never once imagined Curt giving up without a fight. Owen knew the only way out was when one of them was dead, and he knew that Curt was well aware of this as well. He’d die himself before he let Curt off easy after everything.
“It’s not that easy, love.”
“Isn’t it? We both know that if you were really doing this for the greater good or whatever other bullshit excuse you wanna use, you would have already taken the shot. This is your own ego getting in the way of your one chance out. This is you playing a sick game. Well, I’m done Owen. You either come with me, or you fucking shoot me now because you’ve been stalling for long enough.”
Owen took another step back, the tension in the air making this breath catch as he holstered Curt’s weapon at his side, successfully disarming the other agent. Owen threw his hands up in a sign of surrender, and the brief moment of confusion this caused was enough distraction to allow Owen to make his move.
A punch to Curt’s jaw.
A failed escape.
A hand forcefully pushing against his chest.
The hard slam of his back hitting the metal rail.
The way the rickety stairwell seemed to shift under the weight of the collision.
“Sorry to cut you down, old boy, but you should know better by now. People like us don’t get happy endings.” Curt could feel Owen’s breath on his face, almost able to taste the venom dripping off his tongue. “Then again, you always were the optimist.”
The brutal crunch of fists colliding with flesh cut off the desperate plea threatening to slip from Curt’s lips, now bloodied by the sudden impact.
It was time for this to end. Owen drew back his hand once more, strengthened by the burning rage quickly filling his soul. This had to be the end.
Then a struggle, followed by a loud clang as Owen’s fist slammed full force into the metal bar, now empty of Curt’s bloodied form.
Owen turned on his heels, ignoring the throbbing sensation running through his hand, and lunged back at the agent, toppling them both to the grate floor of the stairwell.
The sight was dizzying, the darkness that enveloped them, Curt laying beaten beneath him, the ground not even visible from this height.
“Owen stop.” Curt spat, grabbing Owen’s wrists in an effort to ease the force of his blows.
Owen wrenched his hands out of Curt’s grip, straddling him before taking another vicious jab at the prone man’s chest, effectively leaving him gasping for air.
Owen stood up, now towering over the man he used to fight side by side with. My god, did he ever like this vantage point. The view was horrific, just as he had intended.
“Not even going to fight back, Mega?” Owen knelt down, looking into Curt’s eyes. Vacant. “How pathetic.”
“Do it.” Curt heaved. “ I’m not going to hurt you again.”
Owen reached for the gun at his side.
“Well, I must say, you used to be plenty good at it.”
He cocked the gun.
“Thank you, Curt. For showing me the truth.”
He took aim.
Curt’s eyes fluttered closed as he drew a rancid, shaky breath into his lungs.
The silence was deafening, the weight of Curt’s heart felt like it would be enough to collapse the very ground he laid upon.
The loud crack of a bullet leaving the chamber made Curt tense, and his ears ring. His eyes shot open as he desperately tried to find a wound, blood, any sign that he had been hit. When he found nothing, Curt’s eyes drifted up only to find Owen was no longer above him.
One shift in his vision and the grief that he had long worked to bury crashed into him all over again. A pair of vaguely familiar hands lurched him to his feet, the violent ringing drowning out the voice attached to the strong grip. He couldn’t look up, however, as the sight in front of him entrapped his gaze.
Before him, on the ground, slouched against the barrier he himself had been forced against mere moments before was Owen, his face lax, with a gunshot wound perfectly centred between his eyes.
The hands continued to pull Curt to his feet, despite the protests of his legs, weak from exertion, blood loss, and the blinding numbness coursing through his veins. The haze returned, allowing him to be led away from the grisly scene.
“Curt, we need to hurry, we did it, we got the facility.”
“Curt, we need to move, now!”
“Owen, he- why- why did you do that?” Curt’s voice was barely a whisper, but it was enough to elicit a sympathetic look from Tati before she continued on, dragging Curt along beside her.
How Curt managed to get out of the compound was beyond him. He fought back tears as he entered the car that was waiting for them a safe distance from the standoff. Once a relative distance away, with adrenaline beginning to wind down, Curt was met with a soft hand on top of his own.
“Curt. I’m sorry, but you know I did what had to be done. Forgive me for my bluntness, but you are in quite bad shape, had I not come when I did, it would have been you dead.” Tatiana knew she wasn’t good at comforting people, but you couldn’t say she didn’t try.
“He was right.”
“He was right, Tati. We go, we fight, and we die for what?” Curt choked on his words. He thought he knew in his heart that Owen thought he was doing the right thing. He wanted to believe that so badly. If it were true, if Owen was right, he had just died for nothing.
“Curt, do you not think that if it were in the world’s best interest that it would not already be supported? The system would have toppled everything we’ve ever known. Secrets are secret for a reason, our job exists for a reason. I know now is not the time, but that wasn’t the Owen you loved. That was a different man.” With that, Tatianna’s eyes drifted back to the road, and The weight in Curt’s chest remained.
Curt knew she was right. He had lost Owen a long time ago.