He slips the phone into his pocket as he exits the dingy port bar. It weighs heavy in the denim and waits for him to listen to its message, but it has to wait. Just for a moment.
He jogs into the parking lot, scanning over it. He hopes he hasn't missed him.
“Hey!” He calls out as he spots the blond head in the distance. “Hey, Benji!”
His co-worker turns as he hears his name, obviously still on high alert. Seeing Will, his shoulders visibly relax, but he seems tense despite it.
“Hey,” Benji says as Will catches up with him. “Need a ride?”
“Uh,” Will contemplated. “Actually, I was wondering if you wanted to go for a drink?”
Benji looks up at him, looking surprised. “Yeah, sure.”
They go for a small, quiet place inside the city, not far from where Benji's been housed. It's a little further to Will's, but the walk will be refreshing.
They don't talk about anything, not really. Empty talk about weather, politics, normal things. After the first beer, they talk with less effort. After the fourth, they're cracking jokes, laughing, and Will's a little surprised at how much he likes Benji's laugh.
They turn quiet again, and Will asks, “Are you really not sleeping?”
Benji looks a little saddened at that.
“Intermittently,” he answers. “There's this woman at the IMF who's helping me out, but it's early days,” he says, and with a slight grin, adds, “apparently this is commonplace in our line of work.”
“Yeah,” Will says with a nod. “Been there.”
“Really?” Benji says, looking genuinely surprised.
“Oh yeah,” he says, taking a swig off his beer. “Pretty sure Ethan's been there several times.”
Benji seems comforted. Will sees his chance coming up. He's decided that when it comes to this team, his team, he doesn't want to keep any secrets or leave anything unsaid. So he takes it.
“You do realize,” he starts, “that we didn't save the world?”
Benji looks up at him with a skeptical raise of his eyebrow, his smirk widening. “And what do you mean by that?”
“We didn't,” he says, emphasizing the pronoun. “You did.”
Benji's smirk falls, and he looks down into his beer, fingers fidgeting with the perspiring glass.
“How do you reckon?”
“Well,” Will says as he leans back in the booth, slipping into analyst mode. “It's a very simple scenario. There are three agents caught in a high tension situation. The first is tasked with reactivating the power in a building, but he's engaged in hand to hand combat with the enemy. He's evenly matched.”
“Didn't seem very even to me,” Benji teases, and Will grins.
“Yeah, well. The second agent,” he continues, “is badly wounded. The third,” he says pointedly and Benji shifts, “makes a risky call. He finishes his allotted task of rewiring the sabotaged tech, but entrusts the last step to the wounded agent. He goes to assist the first agent, quickly and efficiently taking the enemy out with his weapon, allowing the first agent to complete his task. The second agent completes hers, ultimately allowing for the deactivation of a falling bomb.”
He lets his evaluation of the mission events hang in the air for a moment before continuing. “Had the third agent made a different call, or if the third agent had been removed from the equation,” he pauses, leaning forward again, “there would now rage a nuclear war that would end civilization as we know it.”
Benji looks up, ready with a dismissing joke and self-deprecating comments, but when he meets Will's eyes, they don't come. He looks down again and leans back, drawing a sharp breath.
“I don't know what to say to that,” he finally says with a sharp, mirthless laugh. Will smiles at him fondly.
“That's actually not really what I was going to say,” Will finally says, looking down at his beer before raising the glass to his lips and draining it. “I was going to say thanks for saving my life back there, but,” he gestures at the empty glass. “You know.”
Benji drains his own, and they sit there quietly for a moment. The bar is emptying, the quiet music now louder than the conversations around them. Sure enough, the bell for last call is rung.
“Oh,” Benji says with a slight twitch, “was I supposed to say you're welcome?”
They both laugh at that, perhaps a little harder than warranted, but it feels good. Benji leans forward again, his voice low.
“I just don't know if I can deal with that sort of responsibility,” he says. “What if I make the wrong call?”
Will considers him for a while, pushing his empty glass out of the way as he leans closer, their heads nearly touching in the low light.
“It's the question I asked myself constantly, even as an analyst,” he whispered. “But you have to forget it, and know and trust that you will make the right move, always. Because that's what we do. And if we make mistakes, we're capable enough to fix them.”
“That simple?” Benji asks, his eyes impossibly blue so near.
They tip the bartender generously, waving her goodnight as they head through the door into the cool Seattle air. Will breathes deep, feeling the slight intoxication in his veins, and breathes out, his breath hanging in the air.
“Well,” Benji says, smiling at him. “I guess this is goodnight, then.”
“Yeah,” Will smiles at him. “I do mean it though,” he says, smiling warmly. “Thank you.”
“Oh, it's nothing, really” Benji says, eyes crinkling slightly as he smiles.
Will can't stop himself. He leans close, his hand cupping Benji's head and he pulls him closer. He hesitates, just a fraction, his eyes meeting Benji's wide and bewildered ones, before he kisses him softly. It's short and it's sweet, but even as their lips break away, they linger close, breaths mingling in the chilly air.
“Goodnight,” Will whispers and pulls his hand away, turning on his heel and heading in the general direction of his apartment, hands in pockets, leaving Benji staring after him.