|Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Author: RuinNine PM
"We all have our secrets." Brandt had his fair share of experience with secrets, but what happens when Benji crosses the thin line between secret and lie? Benji/Will.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Benji D. & W. Brandt - Chapters: 6 - Words: 9,348 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 06-04-12 - Published: 04-22-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8048801
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: This story is dedicated to PeggsterLover, the Beta Wizard of Oz, who wished for another Benji/Will story and cheered me on with her constant, yet polite asking for updates. Thank you very much, dear! Also huge thanks to you and GimlisBeard for the beta. You guys rock! :)
I apologize in advance for any medical facts I might have gotten wrong. Please tell me if that's the case.
Disclaimer: No copyright, no money, just pure fun!
— † —
Patience. It's a rare virtue these days. Mouse-clicks dictate the rhythm of life, while every little thing is measured in the minutes and days a task is allowed to take, and not in the quality of its goal. Humankind isn't used to waiting any more, and no less to the gnawing feeling of not knowing. Now, if a human being is forced to wait despite the precautions he has been rehearsing day by day, the minutes blur together into one agonizing, slow mess of time, spent in anguish and regret. It's the regret not to have chosen a different way to solve the matter at hand. Even if that means doing it himself.
Will paused for a moment, hovering in the middle of his living room which he had been pacing for the last two hours. He shook his head at himself. Enough with the philosophy tutorial! Sighing deeply, he rubbed his hands down his face before wandering over to his couch. It was driving him insane, this helpless feeling of not knowing. He checked his watch for the tenth time in the last five minutes and tried to shake off the uneasy feeling that was settling in his stomach; telling him that something was wrong.
It had been two hours since Benji's appointment with his doctor took place – two hours since Will started pacing. Granted, being members of the IMF and of Ethan Hunt's team no less, both agents were used to sitting in waiting rooms and doctor's offices alike, but most of the time they knew what they were dealing with, be it a twisted knee or a bullet wound. This time, however, they just didn't know what the actual problem was. Benji hadn't caught even the tiniest cold since Will had met him on that train over a year back and when the technician had begun feeling constantly tired and lethargic almost four weeks ago, it had worried the hell out of the analyst.
Benji had waved off his concern with a shrug and a laugh and Will had let him be. The technician was old enough to decide whether or not he felt sick enough to consult a doctor. Still, when he had lost weight at a rapid pace without changing his eating habits, he had finally surrendered to an alarmed Will in mother-hen mode and got an appointment after all. An appointment where he would go alone. With a frown, the analyst remembered his exact words: 'I won't be able to relax when you're sitting there, breathing down my neck. I'll call you when it's over.'
Will checked his phone, although he knew it hadn't made a sound since he had been left to his thoughts and his worry. It can't take that long, can it? He wondered if he should try to call Benji himself, but decided against it. A sick Benji who, in addition, was annoyed beyond imagination was a combination he certainly didn't want to create. He valued their relationship after all. What they had was still too new, still too fragile and he didn't want to mess it up.
Letting himself fall back into the cushions, he considered trying to take a nap, but the sound of his phone finally ringing snapped him back to reality. He leaned forward and, after taking a deep breath, raised the phone to his ear, his hands shaking with anticipation.
"Benji!" Will winced. He hadn't meant to nearly shout his name.
The trademark laugh he had longed for reached his ears. "Calm down! Yes, it's me! Who else?" Benji's voice sounded tired, but that was nothing new, considering the condition he had been in for the last month. Will decided not to let it distract him from what he needed to know.
"No games, Benji! What did he say?"
There was a short silence on the other end. Then a shaky sigh. "He did lots of tests – which is why it took so long – but then he said that I was only over-worked and needed a few weeks to recharge my batteries. I already told the Secretary and he agreed to two weeks off for me."
Will felt himself melt back into the couch, relief flooding his veins. "So it's nothing serious?"
"Hell, no! Told you!" Benji clicked his tongue. "Guess that means you'll have to do a mission or two without me." The disappointment in his tone was tangible.
Will knew he should be able to relax now, to believe that what Benji told him was true, but the uneasy feeling of worry in his stomach remained. Something in the technician's voice told him that there was more to the examination results than he had let on about.
"Will?" Benji's voice shook him out of his reverie. "I'll head straight to bed, okay? See you tomorrow."
The click that signalled the end of the call sounded almost instantly, effectively cutting off any reply Will might have come up with. He pulled the phone away from his ear, staring at the dark screen as if the solution to his mysterious gut feeling might appear there. Something wasn't right, he just knew it.
— † —
Will didn't get to see Benji the following day, or the day after, or the two weeks following. The missions he was sent on with Ethan and Jane were easy enough, compared with what they were usually assigned. He had the sneaking suspicion that the IMF exclusively set them on missions where there was no need for a technician – as if they would not be able to work with anyone with lesser skills than Benji. It was a weird thought and somehow, it made him angry. That anger was only fuelled by the few phone calls he was able to have with their missing team member.
Benji still sounded tired and weary, but he resolutely refused to talk about his condition. Will's worry had increased to the point where Ethan had taken him aside after their last mission and ordered him to keep a clear head until Benji was joining them in the field again. It was a ridiculous situation. Will knew he should be able to trust his boyfriend and his judgement – if he said he was fine, he was fine. Still, he couldn't suppress the unsettled feeling in his stomach whenever he heard Benji's voice over the phone. He desperately needed to see for himself before he could lay the doubts to rest. Will violently shook his head. Focus! Just a few more days and you'll see him again. No need to endanger the rest of your team with your gratuitous worry!
And so he buried the feelings of suspicion and doubt in the back of his mind, but that didn't mean he would be defeated so easily next time he faced Benji's famous stubbornness.
— † —
Unfortunately, Will felt his resolve crumble like a house of cards as soon as Benji opened the door to the passenger's seat of his car and he was greeted with the grin he knew by heart. The technician looked rested and content, and the haunted look in his eyes was gone. In fact, he gave the impression of a healthy and confident agent, eager to get back in the field.
"So, you want to stare me down or can I get in?" Benji laughed. "It's really me, in case you're wondering."
Will felt a relieved laugh tear its way through the lump of worry in his throat that had been sitting there for the last three weeks. So he threw his head back and laughed the first carefree laugh in he didn't know how long. When he had finally settled down to a wide grin, he motioned for his boyfriend to get in. The technician didn't even have the time to close the door properly, before Will grabbed his shoulders and pulled him into a hug.
"I've missed you." Taking a deep breath, he fought the urge to just hold onto Benji and never let go again. He felt the technician relax into his embrace and pressed a kiss to his neck before pulling back just enough to capture his lips in a gentle kiss. Benji hummed his approval and Will felt him grin against his lips. That provoked a grin of his own and soon enough, they were laughing uncontrollably, both of them relishing the presence of their other half.
Their foreheads came to rest against each other and for a minute or two, they just sat there, breathing the same air. Benji pulled back first, gently easing out of the embrace until he could look Will in the eye. He was smiling, but his face was serious and his usually vibrant eyes held an emotion the analyst couldn't translate. And in an instant, all the forgotten anxiety came tumbling back.
"I've missed you, too." Benji admitted, his voice quiet, but unwavering. "I would like to-"
Will found himself unable to let him finish what he dreaded most. "This isn't about breaking up, is it?"
That outburst startled a nervous laugh out of the technician. "Hell, no!" He scooted back in his seat in order to grant the analyst the full effect of his disbelieving stare. "Why would you-"
"Never mind!" Will scratched the back of his neck, embarrassed to the bones. "Forget it! What were you about to say?" He watched Benji take a deep breath, but whatever he prepared to say was cut short by the insistent beeping of his phone.
The analyst cursed mentally and answered the phone with a little more edge in his voice than necessary. "Yes?"
Benji sunk back into his seat, clearly unhappy with the sudden interruption. He listened to the one-sided conversation that consisted of a few grumbled "Yes" and "Yeah". Shaking his head, he couldn't help but smile at the gruff behaviour of his lover. Whoever was at the other end obviously had neither good timing nor good news.
Will pulled the phone away from his ear and threw it over his shoulder onto the back seat. He turned to Benji with an apologetic smile while starting the car. Damn it! He could see it in the technician's face that the moment was over – he wouldn't tell him what he had wanted to say even if he asked. So he didn't.
"That was Ethan. He's at the garage, because his car wouldn't start and he has to wait for a rental car." He sighed and barely refrained from the childish action of leaning his head against the wheel. "We are supposed to pick up Jane and then drive ahead to the safehouse."
"Okay." Benji's voice was barely audible.
Will took a moment to calm down the storm of emotions that raged in his head, before pulling away from the curb into the never ending traffic. Damn you, Ethan!
— † —
Damn! Damn! Damn! Will kept repeating that one word over and over again while he drove the car to the safehouse. He couldn't believe that he had fallen for the first impression – a mistake every agent learned the hard way not to make – just because his relief to see Benji in a healthy condition had overpowered his trained senses. Ethan would have his head on a silver platter if he knew. Their team leader approved of their relationship – as long as it neither clouded their judgement nor endangered the team. And at the moment, he was on the path to accomplish both deeds if he didn't force his haywire emotions under control.
He had listened with only one ear to Jane and Benji chatting and found himself wondering if he had been worrying for no reason whatsoever. What if Benji had been trying to ask him to finally meet his parents? Will nearly scoffed out loud at himself. Yeah, right! No, he wouldn't have made it to the position of Chief Analyst with a poor ability to judge. There was something that didn't fit into the puzzle. He just wasn't the type to act amiss. What Benji had been trying to tell him was far more serious than that. And far more dangerous.
"Will?" A warm hand on his shoulder. "Will!"
He shook himself out of his thoughts and risked a short glance towards the passenger's seat. Some lingering emotion he had felt during that depressing chain of thought must have shown in his eyes, for he watched Benji's face morph from a grin into a frown. Will shook his head and forced his eyes back onto the road.
"It's nothing. What did you say?" The frown remained, but Benji wasn't able to voice the question that shone in his eyes, for Jane – oblivious to the awkward tension between the two agents – decided to take over the conversation from the back seat.
"Benji and I discussed the codenames for the mission. We came up with the names of the thieves in 'Reservoir Dogs'." Will could see her grin in the rear-view mirror. "What do you think?"
I think that's a bloody bad omen! "Yeah, sure. Who am I going to be?"
"You are Mr. Blue."
He couldn't suppress a noise of protest. "But I'm dying right at the beginning!"
Jane laughed at the mock indignation on his face. "Don't be a poor sport now!"
As he bickered back and forth with Jane, Will couldn't help but notice that Benji didn't say a word throughout the whole discussion. The technician was watching the landscape fly by instead, all the while drumming his fingers on the armrest. And in that moment, the analyst knew for sure that this was neither the Benji they were used to nor the Benji he had fallen head over heels in love with. This side of his personality was entirely new and he was determined, by the use of his skills as an IMF agent, to solve the riddle that Benjamin Dunn had turned into.
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Thank you very much for reading! Thoughts? Protests? I don't bite. ;)