A/N: So… I have no idea where this has come from. I hope it's not too cracky for you guys.
I don't own either of the characters or movies.
It was getting later into the evening, and the crowd at the pub was now way louder and more cheerful than an hour before. Everyone gathered in front of a huge television, in anticipation of an upcoming football match.
'Everyone' didn't involve one blond man sitting at the table in a far corner of the pub. From time to time he would throw a look at the crowd, unwillingly pointing out the stage of their drunkenness. Over the past few years he had learned to take it more calmly but his habits were too deep in his subconscious. It was funny that he even paid attention to all those people, actually. And even though he did, he didn't realise it, as his mind was somewhere far away.
He hated waiting. And now he was waiting for someone very special. Someone who meant so much to him, even though they hadn't seen each other for about seven years now. Seven years… so much had happened in that time in both of their lives. All they had were a few very rare phone calls, just for a quick check in. They couldn't even talk for too long – they merely let each other know they were still alive. He was worried as the time passed and the person wasn't showing up. Last time they had arranged a meeting it hadn't happened – something urgent had popped up, forcing them to postpone everything. He wanted to hope now was not the case of the same occurrence…
The match started, prompting a wave of cheer from the crowd. Nicholas Angel didn't pay attention to that anymore. Normally he didn't tend to get lost in his thoughts as much but he couldn't help it. He buried his face in his hands (not stiff anymore) and wandered along with his musings.
"Can I take this seat?" he suddenly heard. The voice was soft and quiet and unmistakably familiar. Nicholas shuddered and looked up to see another man of his age, also blond and blue-eyed, just like him, standing near his table, a wide goofy grin decorating his face. Nicholas couldn't help but smile, too. He never could resist that smile, it was almost literally contagious. The other man chuckled softly, seeing that mirroring smile.
"I take it as a yes," he proclaimed, grinning again.
"You look different," Nicholas commented, watching his brother sit down opposite him. Last time they had met he had been barely recognisable, a bit chubbier and with darker hair and stubble.
"Yeah, decided to get in shape once I… got promoted," Benji answered carefully. Nicholas nodded. He knew what his brother's actual job was, and he was also aware that he wasn't supposed to know that. "So guess we're back to being identical".
"Copycat," Nicholas let out a small smile. Benji raised an eyebrow.
"Was that a joke?" he asked in comically exaggerated bewilderment. "Who are you and what have you done to my brother?"
"How have you been?" Benji asked once each of them had a pint standing on the table. Another surprising feature, as Nicholas hadn't drank beer before.
"Same as always," Nicholas shrugged. There was so much he wanted to say, and yet now he didn't know how to respond.
"That bad, huh?"
"Not really," he replied. "I was made Inspector in Sandford – I think I told you about it – and yet the Met would sometimes ask for my help…"
"They're nothing without you, are they?"
"That's what my partner says," Nicholas nodded. "He kind of reminds me of you… I think that's why we get on so well. He even grins a bit like you".
"I'm glad there's somebody there," Benji grinned in his trademark way. "I was afraid that without me around you'd become a complete twat".
Nicholas smiled only with his lips. No matter how great his new friends were, he still missed his brother. They had been very close as children until both of them went their separate ways, attending different universities. Benjamin had always been the genius any family would be proud of. It didn't last long though, as something had happened while he had still been in Oxford. Something he wouldn't tell anybody, but it made him change his last name and move to America right after graduation. The family hadn't taken it well. But they had to cut off the visible links anyway. It was hard but they had gotten used to it eventually.
"And how are you doing?" Nicholas asked, piercing Benji's face with his steely gaze.
"Uh…" Benji looked down timidly. "Getting used to… to my new position, you know… working in the field and all that…"
"I'm getting used to that, too," the Inspector sighed, making the agent throw a confused glance at him. "When you were at the lab, I knew you were at least relatively safe… and now it's just…" he fell silent, feeling a bit silly.
"I can take care of myself," Benji sounded more serious than ever. "And besides, look who's talking! I've read about your NWA takedown in the papers. Didn't you get shot during it?"
"Three times," Nicholas nodded, watching his brother's eyes grow wide in a mix of shock and worry.
"Three times?" Benji repeated, feeling a bit dizzy.
"It wasn't bad," the police officer rushed to assure him. "The first shot was in the arm, the bullet went through the muscle. The other two were in the chest… but I was wearing a stab vest and it was good enough with guns like that. My partner though…" he paused, recalling the moment when he had found Danny lying in the ruins of the station, covered in blood and dust. More than six years had passed, and yet those images were still haunting him in his worst nightmares. "He survived by a pure miracle. He took a blast for me. I had to be in his place".
For a while there was silence, as both twins were looking down. Suddenly, a loud cheer from the crowd shook the building – one of the teams had scored a goal.
"Nick?" Benji asked quietly, his tone a bit lost and shy.
"Yeah?" Nicholas could see something was bothering his brother, and it got him a bit agitated.
"When you… when you killed that crack-head…" he swallowed, knowing Nick wouldn't like this topic at all, "how did you… how did you get over it?"
Nicholas took a very long pause before replying, looking at Benji attentively. He noticed that his eyes had gotten quite wet, and yet there was something determined and strong about the look they emanated.
"I never did," he finally spoke with a sigh. "It's not something you can get used to".
"But you know you did the right thing," Benji asked again, as if begging his brother to tell him something that would take all his pain and doubts away. "Right?"
"I had no choice," Nicholas' glare still didn't get any softer. "If I hadn't done it, he would have killed me and my entire unit".
Try to make that a few millions of innocent people, Benji thought, looking down. He knew he couldn't tell anyone anything about his missions. Nothing to redeem himself in his own brother's eyes. Nick was the last family he had left and he was terrified by the prospect of losing him because of this secrecy.
"I had no choice, either," he said, still staring at his palms. "Trust me, Nick, if I had had a choice I would have never…"
"I know," the softness of Nicholas' voice made him look up, his vision blurry with the tears he didn't allow to fall.
"I keep telling myself that what I did was for the greater good," Benji didn't notice his brother flinch at those words. "Keep reminding myself of what would have happened if I hadn't done it…" he gritted his teeth. Not a word more. He had already spoken enough.
"I know, Benji," Nicholas repeated again, his voice still soft but with a hint of pain. "It will get a bit better with time. But it will never go away".
Benji just nodded, taking a sip of his lager. The crowd cheered again, as the team they supported seemed to be having a blast, but neither of the brothers noticed it. They sat like that in silence for a long while. Even though no words were spoken, the agent suddenly felt like he was not alone. He always knew that. Back in America he had friends… but now he felt calmer than ever, as Nick, his big brother (who was really only about twenty minutes older) was there with him, just like in old happy days.
"Another pint?" Nick suddenly suggested and Benji found himself smiling as he nodded. The evening went on in discussions of some silliness, like who was their favourite Muppet or how big of a prick Uncle Derek really was. Now they could laugh even at that.
The two left long after the game had finished, both of them smiling to themselves.
"Promise me something," Benji suddenly said when they approached a crossroad. Once he was sure he got Nick's attention, he formed a serious expression on his face. "Promise me you will take care of yourself. I don't want to read about you getting hurt again".
"I promise," Nicholas replied quietly. He then smiled, worry still visible in his eyes. "And you promise me it won't take you so long to come back next time".
Benji didn't reply. Instead he just threw his arms around his brother in a tight hug. I wish I could promise you that, he thought, feeling Nick return the gesture.
As they parted, Nicholas remained standing there for a few more seconds. Take care of yourself, too, Benji. Because if something happens to you… I'm afraid I won't be able to even read about it anywhere…