Will woke up between one breath and the next. He didn’t immediately sit up; keeping his eyes closed he tried to figure out what woke him. No sounds jumped out at him, just the heavy quiet of night with the distant whir of a city that never slept. He didn’t sense anyone in the room with him and after a couple seconds he opened his eyes.
The room was dark, with stripes of light cutting across the ceiling. Will didn’t remember pulling the blinds. He’d barely managed to strip off his pants and shoes before falling face first on the bed. It had been a rough mission, involving high speed chases and far too much free-falling for his piece of mind. Basically, an Ethan Hunt special. Will had a suspicion that Ethan didn’t accept any missions unless offered a personal guarantee that yes; they would have to base jump off something ridiculously high.
Will ignored his aching shoulders as he pushed up into a sitting position. He dragged a hand through his hair and over his face, the other lying in his lap clutching the cool weight of his gun. Christ, he’d never actually slept with his gun before joining Ethan’s team. It had become habit after that incident with the cleaning lady in Kazakhstan. Benji still chuckled every time they brought it up. Which was all the time…
Will glanced at the other half of the bed. The bedding was still semi-neat. Any rumpling was due more to Will’s shifting around in his sleep than from anyone joining him. Frowning, he slipped off the bed and padded towards the door. The gun remained in his hand.
He peered through the door starting down the dark hall. Faint noises reached him from the kitchen and he recognized the soft clicking of computer keys. The tension left his shoulders and he flicked the safety on once he realized that he hadn’t subconsciously sensed an intruder. Just a computer geek who didn’t know when he should go to sleep.
Benji didn’t notice when he padded into the kitchen. He was hunched over his laptop, his fingers flying over the keyboard in one long string of clicks. Will recognized the thick headphones as the soundproof ones Benji pulled out every now and then, and his mouth curled into a grin. Setting the gun on the counter closest to the hallway he eased forward, lifting up onto the balls of his feet out of habit.
He didn’t do anything at first, content to stand at Benji’s back and see how long it took him to notice. Will’s smile deepened when Benji didn’t so much as twitch, his focus never wavering from the screen and its scrolling numbers. If it had been Ethan or Jane they would have reacted instantly, training and instinct warning them they weren’t alone.
Will couldn’t see Benji’s lack of awareness as a bad thing. With the others it was a constant dance, each of them tiptoeing around dangerous reflexes honed to a razor’s edge. More than once in the beginning he and Ethan had nearly come to blows due to one of them moving too close too fast. It was easier now that everyone had had time to settle into a companionable awareness of each other.
It hadn’t been like that with Benji, and Will had caught him staring with wide-eyed surprise the first time he’d witnessed a near altercation between Will and Jane. He’d seemed genuinely surprised, as if he couldn’t understand what was happening. Luckily he hadn’t asked Will for an explanation, which was just as well since Will didn’t think he could find the words without offending him.
To put it simply, Benji was far too trusting for this line of work.
Will started slow. He dragged the edge of his fingernail along the collar of Benji’s t-shirt. Benji responded by absently reaching up to scratch at the back of his neck, mumbling nonsense under his breath. Will waited a full minute before repeating the motion, muffling his laughter even though Benji wouldn’t be able to hear him through the headphones.
When Benji still didn’t catch on after the third time, Will decided to step things up. Taking a step back he bent down so he could blow gently on the back of Benji’s neck.
“What the--?” This time Benji twisted around, his whole body starting when he spotted Will. With a huff he pushed the headphones back so they slid down and settled around his neck. “How long have you been there?”
“You’ll never know,” Will said with a smirk. He turned towards the fridge now that the game was up, asking over his shoulder, “Do you want anything?”
“No, I’m good. Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” Benji twisted in his chair so he could keep Will in sight. The light from the lap top screen highlighted the dark circles around his eyes, the lines around his mouth.
“I couldn’t sleep.” Will grabbed a bottle of water, hesitated, then grabbed a second one. He nudged the fridge door closed with his elbow before returning to the table. He set one bottle down next to Benji before twisting the cap off his and taking a long drink. Rather than sit he leaned against the table, one hand gripping the edge while the other held the bottle. He dipped his head towards the laptop. “I could ask you the same question. Do you think you should be doing this right now?”
“I was too wired to sleep so I figured I would take another look at the virus we grabbed. Do you realize how close this guy came to bringing down the economic system of this country?” Benji sagged back in his chair, eyes bright with anger. “He could have beggared everyone and all because he--”
Setting his water bottle aside, Will pushed away from the table and stepped in close, his hands resting on Benji’s shoulders. He worked his fingers into the tight muscles as he spoke, voice soft. “We got him, Benji. We stopped him, and now he’s going to spend the rest of his life in some eight by ten cell, where his only human interaction is the food that gets shoved through a slot in the door.”
Benji’s head fell back until it rested against Will’s stomach. “Yeah, I know. It was just…,” he sighed, “it was too close.”
Will remembered the sight of Benji hunched over his lap top, sweat spotting his temple and his fingers moving in a blur as he did everything in his power to stop the virus in its tracks. In the end it hadn’t come down to bullets or bombs, but the final stroke of the ‘Enter’ key with seconds to spare. He’d known Benji would pull through.
“This isn’t our first near-miss, Benji. It certainly won’t be our last. It’s inevitable that one day we’re going to fail, so you should focus on our successes.” Will was lucky in that he got the lesson without the consequences. He never forgot that if it weren’t for Ethan he would have an innocent on his conscience. He’d managed to avoid that so far, and he hoped it lasted.
Benji rubbed his face. “I know you’re right, but that doesn’t seem to help very much.”
“Give it time.” Will loosened his grip on Benji’s shoulders, fingers skimming over the thin t-shirt. “As for right now, I think you should come to bed.” He dragged his thumbs down the back of Benji’s neck.
His ministrations earned a low groan. “I want to, I mean really really want to, but I have to get this finished or Brassel will find an excuse to dump me back into being a technician.”
“You’re dedication is commendable.” Will leaned over and slowly pushed the laptop closed. “But I’m going to have to insist.”
“Will, I have to finish this!” Benji tried to sound firm, but Will could feel his resolve breaking. It might have had something to do with the hand sliding down the front of his shirt.
“I won’t be able to sleep unless I can feel you next to me.” Will’s admission was quiet, hanging in the air between them. What they had was still new, a bond that started with adrenaline and a bullet in the nick of time. It was settling into something else, Will knew, something that made it harder for him to sleep without the warmth of a familiar body next to him.
“That’s cheating,” Benji breathed. He didn’t resist when Will tugged him out of the chair, their fingers tangled together. The light beneath the laptop faded in and out as the computer slipped into sleep mode.
Will smiled. “If that’s what it takes to get you into bed.”
“Going to sleep and going to bed are very different things.” Benji didn’t comment when Will picked the gun up off the counter. He let Will lead him down the hall and back to the bedroom. “If you’d wanted to go to bed you should have said so.” Benji wiggled his eyebrows, but the effect was ruined when he was forced to stifle a yawn.
“This is our first chance to sleep on a mattress in over a week. Not to mention you’re so tired you can’t even walk straight.” He put a hand on Benji’s lower back and guided him towards the mattress when he began to sway.
“I’m never too tired for sex.”
Will rolled his eyes and dumped Benji on the bed with a gentle push. Benji made a partial effort to crawl across the bed before he flopped down. His sprawling limbs took up most of the space, forcing Will to shove him over.
“Well I am,” Will said.
“In all the movies this is the part where we’re supposed to celebrate our near-miss with catastrophe by sharing in some wild life-affirming sex.”
Will cut a look at Benji’s face, but he didn’t see any sign of the despair he’d heard in the kitchen. He shoved his gun beneath the pillow and slid underneath the covers, prodding Benji in the side to get him moving. “Is that so? You weren’t that interested in having sex a few minutes ago remember? You’d still be out there working if I hadn’t dragged you away.”
“That’s different.” Benji yawned again before crawling beneath the covers.
“Of course it is.” Will reached out and hooked his arm around Benji’s waist. He pulled him back so they nestled together, chest to back. Their thighs pressed together with Will sliding one of his legs between Benji’s.
“Why’m I the little spoon?” Benji asked. His voice was slurred from sleep and Will could feel Benji’s body already beginning to loosen as sleep crept over him.
“Because I say so and I could snap you like a twig if I wanted.” Will settled close, his breath puffing against the back of Benji’s neck. He tightened his arm for a moment, his eyes falling closed as he savored Benji’s solid warmth.
Benji chuckled. “Mmm, kinky. Are you sure we can’t have sex now?” His fingers curled around Will’s forearm, his thumb absently smoothing the scattering of hair.
Will pressed a chaste kiss to the nape of Benji’s neck before settling back into his pillow. “I promise I will screw you into the mattress first thing tomorrow morning.”
“Deal.” Benji murmured.
Will listened to Benji’s breathing slowly even out before letting sleep carry him off as well.