Ah-ha, here we are at the end of the road, my lovelies! What a beautiful road it has been. A brief moment of thanks, then we'll get to it. First off, thanks so much for the reviews follows and faves! I really didn't expect them!

There is an acronym in here, some of you probably won't be familiar with: OGA- Other Government Agency.

Ya'll know I own nothing here!


Chapter 3

My Script's Been Rearranged


Closing his eyes, Owen bent his neck forward and slowly rolled his shoulders back, working his sore muscles. The warm water slipped over them, soothing some of the pain. Murky light filtered in from the narrow cobwebbed window above his head and tinged everything in green. Owen focused on the sound of the water, hoping it would relax another part of him. Then he turned around so it washed over his face and directly onto the worst of his scars. After a moment, he grabbed the bar of soap from the shelf, rubbed it between his hands then started washing his chest. His fingers carefully brushed over the soft webbing of raised tissue that covered part of his right pec and grew thicker the closer it got to his left side, which held the worst of his injuries. The ones on his face and neck he had grown used to, but he still avoided touching the others. They felt strange. He had barely any sensation in some areas. In others, he found small places that felt almost normal. But it wasn't just that that made him hesitant to touch them. His movements slowed with the thought. It was something far deeper. Much darker. Compeletly hidden. And something Owen did not even fully understand.

He didn't like others touching them either, but the doc had.

For just a moment, the memory of lying on a hard examination table with small gentle hands on his side filled his head. She had given him soft tissue massages twice a week and had encouraged him to do the same. He also remembered the soft inflection in her voice when she said, it would help keep his muscles and skin loose and help with his flexibility and range of motion. She also told him he was lucky he had been in a coma as his nerves regenerated, and that he hadn't really experienced much of the pain syndromes associated with full thickness burns. It didn't matter how soft that Southern American drawl had sounded saying it, he still didn't see much lucky about his situation. His muscles had been severely atrophied and he had considerable pain and stiffness. Not to mention the sudden loss of strength he had dealt with early on in his left hand and arm. He hadn't commented on any of it. It was simple, really: if he wanted to survive where he was, and where he was going, he had no choice but to push himself. The less he said, the less he had to worry about her or one of the others making him go slow. He figured she knew all of that, but had been willing to let him work at his own pace.

The time and expense they put into his rehabilitation would have made little sense to him if he hadn't been familiar with how the CIA and OGAs worked. He had seen and heard stories about the stuff they did at places like The Salt Pit in Afghanistan when he was a soldier. Lowmpac, the facility he learned he was being detained at after Deckard broke him out, was a holding facility. The sort they sent you to to be fixed up if they wanted you healthy. He still couldn't figure out what someone like the blue-eyed doctor was doing working in a hellhole like that. She didn't have the jaded roughness about her or the age he would have expected of someone in her line of work. He reminded himself that there were many things about her he didn't know, like her name and who the fuck Sigurd was, though he would eventually figure that last one out.

At some point last night, he'd found his way to the back room and the narrow cot in the corner. The bed had come with the warehouse when he leased it, but he had never slept in it 'til last night. The mattress was old, lumpy and had made his back and shoulder ache, more than they already would.

The thoughts of his father from the previous night still lingered. He'd spent hours lying there, staring at the ceiling, thinking about the things that happened and the choices he had made. Terrance Shaw wasn't an overly friendly man, but the face he showed the world and the face he wore at home were different.

To the outside world he was always seen as likable. Everyone thought he was hardworking, honest. A man's man. A family man. He could even be charming if he wanted to be, blindly so. To his family, he had been an unapologetic and manipulative bastard. In public, his father always wore a mask of morality that blinded most people to his real persona.

Owen had even experienced his father's charm on several occasions when he was a kid. Each time it had always come at a price and his father had used it to trap him on more than one occasion.

Now that he was older, Owen was certain that was why they had left Manchester as quickly as they did. His mother had always covered up her own bruises, as well as his and Deckard's, or made excuses for their existence, but this time she hadn't been able to. Terrence had dislocated Owens shoulder and he needed stitches on his cheek.

Shoving that part of the memory aside, Owen also wondered if that wasn't why his father's new choice for meting out punishment was specifically the leather strap instead of his hands. It was cleaner, more precise and efficient. And reminded Terrance Shaw not to leave marks where they could be seen. The punishments had been no less severe, however.

Owen rinsed the soap from his body then shut off the water and stepped over the three inch lip in the concrete. He'd been prepared to shower even if there wasn't a towel, but he'd found one folded up on a shelf along with a bag containing some clothes he had left there at some point. He grabbed it from the peg on the wall and wrapped it around his waist. The clothes might not smell like they were freshly laundered but they smelled better than the ones he'd been wearing for the previous three days.

He dried off, picking up the bottle of pain killers on the bench beside the clothes, he took one. Swollowing it as he slipped on his jeans before he pulled the grey-blue henley over his head and slid the long sleeves up his forearms. He dismissed the sight of the scars covering the lower part of his left arm. He still didn't know what he was going to do now. He had seen the uncertainty in Deckard's gaze when they parted ways four days ago. Not having a plan was a new experience for Owen, but right now, he needed to eat—he'd figure out what came next after.

Sitting down on the bench where his clothes had been, he put on his socks and boots. He knew he really should go see his mother—Deckard had said she was still living in New York—but Owen wasn't sure he was ready. Seeing Deckard was one thing since, while he could see the doubt in his brother's eyes, he knew Deckard would let him go his own way…whichever way that may be. Seeing Magdalene Shaw was another matter altogether: she would have expectations.

Leaning forward, Owen placed his elbows on his knees and stared unseeingly at the pale green tiles on the opposite wall. He had always been aware his mother was disappointed in him but Owen wasn't given to apologizing.

Honestly, if anything, it had made him angrier.

He had always recognized what she wanted for him and the startling contrast of what he had become. Despite the fact she had stayed with his father 'til Owen was nearly grown, she had always wanted something better, something more for him. It wasn't just him she wanted it for either but she had probably gotten closer to it with Deckard.

Maybe that was why, on some levels, he had grown to resent his brother. Owen had always known that, even though he would never have admitted it before, even to himself, and probably never would again. That had started way back all those years ago, when he began to see his father take it easier on Deckard than he would if Owen were receiving punishment for the same thing.

The resentment had only grown as they got older, especially when he realized his brother had stepped into the role their father should have inhabited. It got worse still as he saw his mother depended on Deckard to keep him out of trouble. In some twisted way, it became worse again when his brother joined the army—not because Deckard had left him there alone, but because he got out: out of the house, away from their father, and started his own life.

Owen could see now his mum had only wanted the best for him, just like she had probably had stayed with his dad because she knew what it was like to grow up without a father. That didn't change the fact that, as kid, he hadn't been able to see that she was doing what she felt she had to or the possibility that, on some levels, he had blamed her. But he also knew that if he had known, it still wouldn't have changed how angry he was.

He left home as quickly as he could. He was sure his mother breathed a sigh of relief when he'd chosen the service over the other things he could have done. He was equally as certain she hadn't been pleased with the way his career ended.

But really Magdalene Shaw shouldn't have expected either him or Deckard to lead normal lives. For his part, Deckard had tried, but life had had other plans. Owen had never given a shit. He had simply found something he was good at and did it.

His father was a con artist but, in her own way, his mother had been too.

She had guarded it well all her life but she was as good as his father at some things. In the early years, she used her talent to ensure their survival, but since she had proven herself more than capable of taking care of herself. All those artful gifts for smoothing things over and hiding the truth had been useful.

Owen still knew she genuinely cared—he had never doubted that, no matter how angry he got. He also knew he had probably broken her heart but Owen had accepted what he became a long time ago.

After another moment, Owen stood up and left the bathroom. He grabbed his jacket, keys and envelope of money off the work bench and headed for the R8 he'd picked up in Germany a couple nights ago. When he reached the car, he paused to look around one last time before he got in.

xxxx

An hour later, stomach full, Owen handed a young waitress some euros before he leaned back in his chair. He stretched one long denim-clad leg out under the little iron table in front of him. His gaze passed around the busy Parisian street and the people sitting at similar tables around him before it returned to his phone. A smirk almost instantly tilted up the left corner of his lips as he scanned the screen. Then, leaving the words on his phone behind, his attention drifted to the table.

"Losing your touch, little brother?" A vaguely smug voice said from directly behind him, chasing away the image forming in his head.

Owen looked up, not at all surprised to see his brother stepping around him, wearing an expression even more smug than his voice. He didn't say a word, just laid his phone down and waited while Deckard took the vacant seat opposite his.

"Playing errand boy?" Owen finally questioned, watching Deckard make himself at home.

If he'd thought about it, he would have known that Magdalene Shaw would send his big brother to collect him at some point, when he didn't immediately answer her summons.

Apparently ignoring Owen's comment, Deckard eyed the half-eaten sandwich on the plate in front of Owen. "You gonna finish that?"

Amused though he didn't really show it, Owen gestured to it nonchalantly, as if to say, 'by all means'.

Deckard grabbed the sandwich. Leaving the plate behind, he took a bite of his pilfered food before saying, "Well, I'm glad to see some things never change."

Owen could say the same thing, but didn't. "I was getting to it," he assured his brother.

"Not fast enough. She wants to see her precious baby boy." Deckard said, the last of his words coming out in an almost whining pitch. Owen's brows rose at the sound, but before he had a chance to say a word, Deckard continued, "can't imagine why though, you aren't nearly as pretty as you used to be."

"I'm still prettier than you."

"You always were bloody delusional," Deckard replied with an equal measure of sarcasm before he nodded at the phone Owen had placed on the table. "Since when do you read about dragons?"

Not even sparing a glance to his phone, Owen countered, "Maybe you don't know me as well as you think, older brother."

As always, thanks for reading!