A/N: This is a random idea I got after re-watching the first Mission: Impossible movie. Jack Harmon, the technician on Ethan's initial team, reminded me of Benji somehow… So, yeah spoilers for the first movie!
I don't own them…
Ethan Hunt hated Prague. He almost felt bad for the beautiful city as it wasn't its fault, but every mention of it made the agent cringe and his heart would freeze for a split second every time. To him it was the city of betrayal, the city of failure, the city of death. The city which took away his team, his friends and part of his own soul, changing him forever. Over sixteen years had passed since he had run along its streets with tears in his eyes, not noticing the cold of the winter air around him, feeling lost and absolutely alone. They had been like a family to him. Jim Phelps, his mentor, the legend of IMF, had become like a second father for a young Ethan. And now they were all dead. He had lost his family all over again. And back then he hadn't known it would only get worse…
"Are you alright?" Jane's voice next to him made him jump. He had to blink a few times to come back to his senses. He, Jane and Brandt were sitting in the back of the van while Benji was driving them to their hotel. He sometimes wondered why he had chosen to stick to this one team, why they all had gotten so attached to each other. Now, when they were in Prague, the city of flashbacks, it only reminded him more of the people he had lost there.
"Yeah," he nodded at his awaiting colleagues. He knew they had almost certainly read his file and were aware of the Prague fiasco. He also knew that in his file there were barely any details on it as those events had affected IMF painfully and it had been decided to keep everything even more secret than the rest of the information.
That evening the team gathered in Ethan's hotel room to finish the last preparations.
"So Brandt, you stick near the entrance and wait for the target to show up. Jane and I will impersonate a married couple and will ask him about his charity work. Benji…" Ethan made a pause and looked down for a second to recompose himself.
"Benji, you will be in the elevator shaft in case our target decides to use one".
"Aw, so I'm missing the party again," Benji sighed. "When will I get a job where I could wear a nice suit?"
"So I guess I'm not wearing a tux…"
Ethan shook his head, trying to get rid of the sudden flashback. He hadn't heard that voice in years and he sure as hell didn't want to hear it now.
"Hey," Brandt tapped the Brit on the shoulder, "one day you will get to wear a mask and a suit. This day will come…"
"You know, Will, anyone can do that," Benji surely noticed the mocking tone in his friend's voice. "But one day, I'd really like to watch you try to hack even the simplest defence system. We'll see who will laugh then".
"Guys, we're here to work so let's get serious and stop giggling," Ethan spoke calmly but coldly. The three of them looked at him, startled. Sure, Ethan wasn't exactly the man to constantly joke around but these words sounded just harsh.
"Benji," the team leader turned to the technician again, "the moment you get a feeling you are not in full control of the elevator… if that happens… you stop everything at that very moment and try to get out of the shaft. Understood?"
Benji decided not to get into an argument and just nodded. Ethan looked at him heavily for a few more seconds before nodding his head.
"See you all in the morning," he said, as his face looked like it was made out of stone.
"What's wrong with him?" Jane asked as soon as the door closed behind the three agents and they were about to head to their rooms. "He looks like he hates the idea of you, Benji, going into the elevator shaft".
"I think I know why," Benji sighed. "Jack Harmon".
"Jack Harmon?" Brandt repeated the name, remembering the files he had read. "Wasn't he the technician on Ethan's team during that Prague mission in 1996?"
"And died during that mission," Jane continued. "But why are you remembering him? The entire team was killed… well, apart from Ethan and two others… as it turned out later".
"The thing is how he died," Benji didn't seem happy to be saying this but he had to finish the talk he had started. "Back in the lab there were some older folk who knew him. In fact, when I decided to pass my field exam, they said I reminded them of Jack for some reason. They said they hoped I wouldn't end up like him though…"
"What exactly happened to him?" Jane asked softly.
"His part in the mission was in the elevator shaft," Benji saw his friends' eyes widen slightly. "He had the control of the elevator but the main controls were in the team leader's hands…"
"Jim Phelps," Brandt almost hissed. They knew he was Ethan's mentor. They knew he was an IMF veteran. They also knew that it was he who had murdered Ethan's entire team and had set everything up so that it would have been only Ethan to blame.
"So at one point Harmon lost control of the elevator. It went straight up and Harmon got impaled on the pieces of the mechanism at the top of the shaft. Died instantly".
Jane gasped softly. It did seem like a horrifying death. Quietly, they all went to their apartments.
"How's it going?" Ethan turned round sharply to see a painfully familiar looking man standing next to him.
"Man, you got old," Jack smirked when there was no reply.
"And you haven't changed at all," Ethan finally forced a response.
"Perks of being dead," Jack grinned again.
"That's not funny".
"Aw, come on man! You used to be fun! Where is your sense of humour?"
"My sense of humour?" Ethan felt his voice crack a bit. "You all died! You, then Sarah, then Hannah and then…" he stopped, unable to talk about Phelps. He remembered hearing Jack's futile attempts to save himself via in his earpiece. Hearing ALL the sounds in it. Seeing the life draining from Sarah's eyes faster than blood escaped her stab wound. Seeing the car Hannah had sat into explode…
"How did Sarah die?" Jack asked all of a sudden, drilling holes in Ethan's head with his gaze. "Weren't you with her? Why didn't you protect her?"
Ethan didn't know how to reply. By this point he was fully aware that he was dreaming but didn't know how to wake up.
"She was beautiful," Jack finally looked away. "She had such lovely eyes…"
Ethan really wanted to wake up. The longer he stayed there, the more it all freaked him out.
"How long has it been?" the technician asked at last, looking at his friend again.
"Wow! I bet some cool stuff has been invented in this time!"
"Yeah, you're quite right. Benji would know more details," Ethan forced a smirk. "He's our new technician".
"Is he good?"
"He's very good. Reminds me of you though. A big goof just like you and can't shut up sometimes," Ethan smiled softly. He had tried to force the memories out of his head but he missed those times when he and Jack had cracked jokes at each other and everyone around. He suddenly felt very old. He looked at Jack to see him return the smile. He hadn't seen that smile on that face for too long. Last time he had seen jack there wasn't even much of his face left… He shrugged. It may have been just pictures but they still had made him sick.
"Well, maybe I'll get to see this guy soon," Jack shrugged and before Ethan could ask what he meant, he disappeared.
Agent Hunt woke up at 3 a.m. and stayed awake till it was time to start the job.
The mission had gone smoothly but Ethan didn't allow himself to sigh in relief just yet. He and Jane were already outside with the package they had needed securely with them. Brandt was at a safe distance from them but remained in sight.
"Benji, how's it going at your side?" he asked and felt enormous relief when he actually heard the English accented voice answer him.
"Everything's fine, Ethan, just cleaning up the tracks of breaking into the system. It won't take… shit!" There was some loud metallic noise and the line went dead.
"Benji?" Ethan felt like history was repeating itself. He didn't know if he could handle in the second time though. "Benji? Can you hear me? Benji!"
The situation was so similar that he practically expected to hear an older agent's voice in his earpiece telling him that his friend was dead. He dreaded it even though he knew it wouldn't happen at least because there was no such older agent here now. He looked at Jane and recognised the terror in her wet eyes.
"Ethan, what do we do now?" Brandt was clearly trying to keep his voice even but it hardly worked.
"We stick together," Ethan was unwillingly remembering what had happened sixteen years ago. Together they had much more chances. They waited for Brandt to catch up with them.
"What about Benji? Are we going to just leave him?" the analyst asked, outraged.
"We can't appear anywhere near the building, Brandt, you know that. We can't take that risk," Ethan was speaking monotonously, almost robotically, barely acknowledging that it was he who spoke. "If he is alright, he will get in touch. Turn our phones off so nobody will trace us by the signals".
"But how will Benji get in touch with us?" Jane asked, trying to keep her tone casual and hopeful.
"He can contact someone in IMF," no matter how hard he tried, it was clear that he had no hope left. It made Jane and Brandt's hearts sink.
The two hours that followed were a blur to Ethan. They were walking in circles to avoid a possible pursuit, and he felt like his life had suddenly turned into a circle, too. At least Brandt and Jane were still alive. And he wouldn't let them die. He had to protect them.
After not noticing anyone following them, they headed to their hotel room. At leas they had to dispose of some of their possessions which could lead to IMF.
Jane unlocked the door to their common room and froze, realising there was someone else there.
"Jane? Oh thank God," Benji slowly stood up from the couch. "I was worried about you guys when I couldn't contact you".
Without saying a word, she ran up to the Brit and threw her arms around him.
"Hey— ow!— careful!" the technician muttered, weakly trying to return the hug. She pulled away and began to study him attentively. He had a wound on his temple which seemed have bled quite a bit but was now cleaned up. Possible concussion, she remarked, looking at his blurry gaze.
"Benji!" Brandt exclaimed, the loud noise making the tech flinch. "Are you alright?"
"I think my shoulder is out and I have a few bruises but otherwise I'm fine".
As Brandt came up to his friend to fix his shoulder, Ethan entered the room.
"So what happened?" the analyst asked, grabbing Benji's arm.
"We hadn't checked the state of that elevator. When I was about to leave, it fell down— argh!" restoring joints wasn't a slightest bit amusing and it took the Brit a few seconds to recover. All that time Ethan was staring at him but apparently not seeing him, lost somewhere deep in his thoughts. "But by that time I had opened the door on the floor closest to me and when it fell, I jumped and grabbed on the edge of the floor. That's when I dislocated my shoulder and hit my head".
"So… mission accomplished?" Jane smiled softly.
"You can say that," Benji smiled and looked at the team leader. Ethan finally gathered himself and focused his glance on his teammates, smiling at them and nodding. Sixteen years ago he had lost his team here. But it took him confronting his fear directly to realise that history doesn't necessarily repeat itself. Jack had been his close friend and so had been his other teammates to some extent. But now he had a new team. New friends who were alive and well. He was moving on.