A/N: Vaguely related to Five Minutes to Midnight with vague easy to miss references. If you didn't read it, oh well, but you really should. It'd make me very happy if you did. If you did read FMtM then this takes place about a week after that.
New Challenges at the bottom. *wink*
Edit: OMG I have fan art. VelleVette (Dot) Deviantart (Dot) com/#/d3kr9nn I don't even know how that happened!
It would have been easy, in theory, to just leave her there. No one would be surprised that Xanatos' cold, distant flunky had left an unconscious woman lying in the middle of the street. In fact, the vast majority would be incredibly surprised if he didn't.
Owen pushed his (broken) glasses back up his nose, inadvertently smearing more dirt across his face. She'd worked with him before – well not with him that would be silly. No one worked with Owen Burnett. She'd brought him coffee once, without him having asked first, which was nice. It had been good to. At least… he was pretty sure she'd brought it for him.
Owen frowned, trying to relive that moment from a week ago. He'd been at the conference table after a meeting… she'd walked in holding the mug and said… something. Owen had been busy, his response clipped and probably annoyed. She'd set the mug down and Owen had taken it… thanked her after a sip… Had she simply set her mug down for a moment only for him to snatch it away? How incredibly rude and un-Owen like –
The blond man stopped mid-mental ramble and touched a sore spot on his head. Probably a concussion. He sighed in annoyance and looked around. Devastation. The building had, for all intents and purposes, exploded. There had been enough warning that most of the technicians and scientists had gotten out and far enough away before the catastrophic event. Mr. Xanatos would be less than pleased that his newest, most legal business venture to date hadn't worked out. He vaguely wondered what the media response would be.
Around him stragglers were picking themselves up and looking around. In the distance he could make out the sound of sirens. Along the edge of the destruction stood the looky-loos. Talking, taking pictures, on their phones and being generally unhelpful. Typical New Yorkers.
The sirens were getting closer. He should really contact Mr. Xanatos to warn him. Statements needed to be prepared. He pulled his cell from his pocket and looked at the cracked screen. Explosion. Concussion. Right.
Owen looked back down at the young woman. He remembered being vaguely disapproving of her before the coffee. Her hair was usually in some elaborate mess with glitter and bows and things. There was nothing wrong or inappropriate about it, but it wasn't very professional. Her hair was burnt now, Owen noted. He could imagine the reaction she'd have.
Was she even breathing? He should check. Owen stood; rumpled, dirty and mildly concussed, staring down at the unconscious woman for another minute before remembering that to check for life, one typically needed to touch the other person.
He knelt awkwardly next to a banged up pipe and pressed his fingers against the woman's neck. Pulse, check. He put the back of his hand against her nose. Breathing, check. He leaned back and ran a hand through his hair, making the mess of blond locks even worse. Now what?
Someone touched his shoulder, made him stand up. One of those ridiculous foil blankets was wrapped around his shoulders. Paramedics. Owen lost sight of the woman as he was led to one of the waiting ambulances and she was taken to another. Questions were asked, tests were done and Owen found himself unwillingly carted off to the hospital.
Owen didn't have a concussion. This was distressing because it meant he'd been in shock.
"That's not possible," he said for the fourth time. The doctor and nurse gave him sympathetic looks; oh how it annoyed him. "Don't you know that fa-" he stopped abruptly and looked down at his bandaged hand. Not Puck right now. Right. It shouldn't be that hard to tell the two personalities apart. He must have a concussion.
"Mr. Burnett, it's quite alright," this doctor was old, nearing his retirement if Owen had to guess. "Most of the tests came back normal. You're a little dehydrated, but you'll be fine."
And that was that. The person in the bed across from him waited for the doctor to move on and waved. Owen squinted, despite popular belief his glasses were not just for decoration.
"When do you think they'll let us out?" a distinctly female voice asked. The woman from the building, the one he may or may not have stolen a mug of coffee from at some point.
"I wouldn't know," he answered, voice more tired than the distant coolness he'd been going for. With a mental sigh he decided under the circumstances it would be alright if his mask wasn't perfect. He was, after all, wearing a hospital gown decorated with rubber ducks. "If I were you I'd be more concerned with the press waiting impatiently outside for one of us to come out," there was a long pause and Owen changed the subject to something his was more comfortable with: business. "If you're uncomfortable returning to work immediately Miss…?"
"Owen Burnett," came the surprised response. Owen blinked.
"No," he returned steadily. "That's my name," had he his glasses Owen would have seen her blush.
"I didn't recognize you without the suit and glasses," she said by way of apology. Owen's lips twitched involuntarily. The hospital gown, IV and bandages probably hadn't helped her at all. He was saved from coming up with a civil response when his employer blew into the room with his usual self-importance.
Whatever cool, business related comment Owen had been expecting didn't come. Instead David Xanatos, richest man in America (official as of three weeks, two days and an hour prior), strode right up to his bed side and forced Owen into a hug. Owen didn't hug people. Neither did the Puck, generally speaking, and the blond man found himself at a loss to the appropriate response for this situation.
After a moment Xanatos released him and calmly, as though he had not just passionately embraced (Perhaps, Owen thought with a mild blush, "Passionately embraced" was not the appropriate phrasing.) his employee and held out a pair of folded glasses.
"Thank you sir," Owen took the glasses with great relief and put them on. His sight wasn't bad, but it was bad enough. The young woman – who would soon be getting referred to as Coffee Intern Girl, if there was not a proper introduction soon – was watching them with a wide-eyed expression.
"Are you alright?" Xanatos asked carefully. Owen opened his mouth and something about his flippant response must have shown on his face, because the darker man put a hand on his shoulder and his face went from its usual calm smugness to concern. "Owen," Xanatos' voice had an urgency that Owen hadn't heard since that night at- oh. "Are you alright?" This time the question was emphasized and Owen spent a moment seriously considering that question.
"Yes," he said finally. "I'll be fine."
"Good…" There was an awkward moment where neither of them knew how to move on from that incredibly personal moment but David Xanatos tolerated awkward moments about as well as he tolerated anything else he considered unwelcomed. "Do we know what happened?"
"I suspect the cooling system in lab 3 failed," Owen pushed his glasses up with his little finger (the only one that wasn't either stone or numb) and Xanatos frowned for the briefest of moments before his expression cleared and he waved his hand dismissively.
"Foxteca will be pleased by the sudden decrease in competition. Do you know when you'll be released?"
"The general consensus is 'soon'," Owen answered dryly. Xanatos grinned.
"Excellent. You can have three days after you're released to rest up," he held up a hand when Owen started to argue. "You're going to take three days because when you get back, you're going to sort out this mess and I imagine it'll be quite the task," Owen knew better than to argue further and decided to be thankful he wasn't being made to take more time. "I'll see you in three days," he squeezed Owen's shoulder and the fae-cum-human realized suddenly that the hand, the comforting warmth, had never left. David Xanatos didn't say goodbye if he could help it, so he smiled and turned, his final words a cheerful "And please leave the ducks at home". It was good that Owen was used to those quips or he might have done something embarrassing, like blush, or swear or throw his pillow at his employer's head.
Across the way Intern Coffee Girl was still staring at him. Owen gave her his driest, most annoyed look and she squeaked, turning a bright red. Well. It was good to know he could still be intimidating to interns even when covered in little yellow ducklings.
A/N: Intern Coffee Girl is staring because she just saw her boss and The Big Boss hug in the middle of a crowded emergency room and some people have permanent Slash Goggles. The hug was meant to be platonic (Owen's mental thought was a result of sharing mind-space with Puck and neither of them getting laid).
For those of you who somehow got here and didn't read FMtM first, Xanatos is forcing Owen to take three days because 1, he thinks Owen is somewhat fragile emotionally (you really ought to just go read the first one) and 2, because if he tried to make him take more, Owen would probably just ignore him all together.
CHALLENGE 1: Foxteca. A fictional company from a different cartoon. This one is depressingly easy if you have google, so I'm going to ask you not to use google. Just the name of the cartoon the company came from.
CHALLENGE 2: "Owen Burnett." "No, that's my name."
Of the two challenges, this is the harder one. A similar exchange took place in a Val Kilmer movie. I need the name of the movie and the characters that said the lines. I'd give you the actual exchange but that would make it waaaay too easy.
Your reward: First person to review with the answer to either challenge gets a one-shot, any main character, pairing, genre, plot and/or rating you want from Gargoyles, Batman (comics), Stargate, Stargate Atlantis, Mighty Ducks (cartoon), Darkwing Duck, or Invader Zim. That means if someone (somehow) answers Challenge 2, you can still apply for challenge 1.