The dim glow of the lamplight illuminated Owen’s face. Despite everything, it still felt far too bright for him. He couldn’t stay here anymore. He got up carefully, trying his best to avoid waking Curt, God knows he needed his beauty rest. The shabby carpet floor of the motel room was a welcoming sensation on his feet. The cold, damp linoleum of the bathroom was the opposite. Owen left the lights off and stood at the sink.
He told himself he wouldn’t do this. He tried so hard to stay out of his own head, but here he was. Owen sunk to the floor, leaning against the wall. He could see the glow of the light in the other room seeping through the crack beneath the door. Curt had been so tired once he got back from his mission that he must have forgotten to turn it off. Owen had wanted nothing more than for Curt to recount every last detail to him, what he did, where he went, who he met. Unfortunately, it was classified information, and since his “retirement’ Owen was no longer privy to these stories.
It had been five months since he’d been in the field. It had been five months since he’d done anything, really. When Chimera was eventually taken down by Curt and his team, they came back for him, against all odds. There had initially been hope that he could return to the field, however, after the psych evaluation and taking into account all of his injuries sustained in the time from his fall to his rescue, they deemed him unfit. Owen wasn’t necessarily mad at that. He had made a lot of powerful enemies while undercover, and there was a good chance many of those people were still aching for revenge. He was a monster after all. That was something he had to live with.
He didn’t even miss the job, really. He had seen too much during his tenure with MI6 to miss it. He’d done horrible things in the name of her majesty and he had had terrible things done to him against it. This just simply wasn’t how he had imagined his retirement. He had never been the type for a white picket fence, but he just wished he could have had the chance to take Curt far away, maybe get a small house with a garden out front. They’d plant lavender, it brings monarch butterflies during the migration. Maybe they’d get a dog. They’d grow old together, peacefully. It was wishful thinking and Owen knew that.
He wrung his hands and tried to make out the scars littering them in the almost pitch-black darkness. They were a reminder of the reality of his situation. He was a fugitive. He’d never be able to have a normal life. Even if the circumstances all lined up perfectly, he could never escape his past. MI6 hadn’t even wanted to give him the evaluation, he was a traitor. He had to sit in his director’s office for hours, recounting every slightly significant event of the past four years in an attempt to prove he had been manipulated. Of course, there were things he left out. They never would have given him the time of day if they had known the nature of his and Curt's “partnership.” It was one of the countless things Chimera had on him, so he figured a lie of omission was well worth the opportunity to fight for his job. That didn’t make the process easier. Recounting every injury from the fall, the feeling of waking up somewhere entirely unfamiliar, the killings, oh god the killings. He had been merciless, and he had had the same unkindness paid to him tenfold. It reached the point where nothing they did mattered. He had nothing left to lose.
That’s changed now.
He felt a tear hit his hands, and before he even realized he was crying, his body began to tremble with the unreleased anguish he’s been holding in for months now. Owen attempted to choke back the tears streaming down his face and to swallow the lump rising in his throat, but he was too far gone to stop it. He wasn’t crying for himself, he had too much pride to weep for who he could have become. He was crying for what no longer was. The world he had imagined for Curt and himself was crumbling beneath his feet before he even got a chance to see it. This was all there was for him, dirty bathroom floors in shitty motels, keeping the monster out of plain sight. He felt so goddamn useless. All his life all Owen had ever wanted to do was help people. Look how that turned out.
A soft knock at the door broke Owen’s train of thought.
“Shit.” Owen sighed, leaning his head against the wall.
“Owen? Can I come in?” Curt was far too tired to hide the worry filling his voice.
“I’ll be fine, love. Go back to bed.” Owen went to wipe his eyes as the door slowly crept open and warm light filled the room. Curt stood, leaning against the door frame, hands in the pockets of the sweater he appeared to have haphazardly thrown on. Owen watched as Curt took in the sight before him. He yawned before sitting down next to Owen on the floor.
“I woke up and noticed you weren’t there, I heard you crying.” Owen dropped his hands at his sides, Curt took the chance to lace his finger’s with Owen’s. “Do you want to talk about it?” Curt said, rubbing gentle circles into the back of Owen’s hand with his thumb. Owen shook his head, looking up to his partner.
And there they sat, basking in the stale air of the motel bathroom. Owen had expected him to push a bit more, but was eternally grateful that Curt had refrained. They lingered on each other's touch and took in the warmth of trust and understanding.
“I’m sorry.” Owen near whispered, finally breaking the silence.
“You have nothing to apologize for.”
“Yes, I do.” Owen sighed, using his free hand to smooth his hair. “I never wanted to hurt you, but I did. They had me so convinced that you had wanted me dead, and the only thing that hurt more than that was seeing you right in front of me, bleeding from wounds I had made.”
Curt furrowed his brow and turned to his partner as he took in a shuddering breath.
“Owen, that’s not on you. You were force-fed that bullshit for years, I can’t imagine what that must have been like. You’re here with me now, we’re both alive, and I love you more than you could ever know. It hurts like hell, I know that, but you came out on top.” Owen let out a breathy laugh.
“Curt. I love you too, you know that, but you haven’t seen half of what I did. It’s unforgivable.”
“Well, I forgive you. You have people on your side, and whether you believe you deserve it or not, we’re not going anywhere.”
“Thank you, love.”
The hot tracks of tears still burnt his cheeks, and all the memories still hurt, but Owen knew that at this moment, on the floor of a shitty motel in God-Knows-Where, Germany, fingers laced with Curt’s, that he was starting to feel okay again.