The way they tell it, it's like something out of a romantic movie. Emmett was struggling to carry his books and his laptop into Starbucks and lost his grip, and Brendan, setting his double foam latte on the bar, kneeled down to help him pick it back up.
Emmett said thank you, and Brendan said no problem, and they ended up losing track of time, and didn't leave until it was already dark. They shared a cab and grabbed some dinner, fought over whether or not the government was the perpetrator of mass conspiracies and Brendan their pawn, and then ended up tangled together on the floor of Emmett's lab.
Freya always finds this story amusing, because whenever they tell it, she sees what really happened.
Emmett hadn't been watching where he was going. If he had been, he might have seen tall, dark, and handsome lunging at him in time to step out of the way. He filed this away on his things-to-look-out-for-in-the-future list and briefly shut his eyes. Then he wondered why these things are always happening to him.
The man placed one hand on his chest to keep him down, and Emmett noticed he was holding a gun with the other.
"Look," he said, "if you wanted my wallet, you could have just asked."
"Oh for--" the man said. "I'm not mugging you."
"Oh," Emmett said. "Well, I'm sure you could understand my confusion. Would you mind, you know, getting off me?"
The man whispered a curse, before leaning down suddenly so they were nose to nose. Emmett was about to protest at this when the sudden report of gunfire echoed in his ears, and he saw a row of tiny holes appear on the wall beside them; nearly level with their heads.
"Stay down," the man said tightly, and then he sat up again, still straddling him, narrowed his eyes and aimed his weapon across the street. "This is the NSA! You're surrounded, Damien! Give it up."
The gunfire started up again, and Emmett saw another bullet slam into the wall just to the side of his apparent savior. He reached out and grabbed the man's tie, dragging him back down on top of him. "Are you insane?" he yelled. "That never works."
The man grinned at him, it was wide and startling, and way to careless for a man in the middle of a gunfight. "Relax," he said, "this is my job. I've got everything under control."
The man dropped an empty clip from his pistol and slammed in another. "Stay down," he said again.
"What good advice," Emmett said. "You should try it." He could hear the sirens start up in the distance, and soon he could hear the sound of screeching tires and people yelling commands in megaphones.
The man started fiddling with his earpiece. "I can take him," he said, "I've got him in my sights."
The man was so intent on his conversation with whoever was at the other end of his earpiece, that he seemed to have forgotten Emmett was there.
"I know you want him alive, but I can wing him...yeah, yeah okay. Okay." Brendan huffed an irritated breath, and then finally looked down on the man he was using as a floor mat. "Sorry about that whole tackling thing," he said. "I'm Agent Brendan Dean."
Emmett blinked at him. "I'd shake your hand, but you're kind of sitting on mine."
"Oh, right, sorry," he said. He quickly rolled off him, coming into a crouch behind a mailbox. "I'm going to need you to stay down Mr..."
"Emmett," he said. "And it's Dr."
"Thanks for clearing that up, Dr. Emmett," Brendan said with a nod. "My orders are to stick with you and keep you safe until we bring our guy in. The rest of the street's been cordoned off."
Bullets started flying by them again, and someone shouted, "Get out here, pretty boy, and face me!"
"Let me guess," Emmett said, as Brendan grabbed his arm and pressed him up against the back of the mailbox, "you're the pretty boy?"
"What makes you say that?" Brendan asked with a grin.
"Well, you're kind of pretty," Emmett told him. "And also you look like the type that easily pisses people off."
"Huh," Brendan said. "I was just thinking the same thing about you."
"You think I'm pretty?" Emmett asked.
Brendan grinned a little wider. "I think you piss people off."
The gunfire started up again and Brendan reached around him, covering Emmett like a shield. "What the hell are you guys doing?" Brendan hissed into his radio. "I've got a civilian here."
Brendan snorted at whatever response he got and Emmett pushed Brendan a little back so he could breath. "You really pissed this guy off, didn't you?"
Brendan laughed. "I broke our date," he said.
"You were dating a madman?" Emmett asked. "Wow. You've got low standards. Want to get together sometime?"
Brendan's smile was almost blinding. Emmett was caught a little off guard by how surreal this all was, and he was acutely aware that every time he met people this beautiful, karma always tried to have him killed to even the score. "I was undercover," Brendan told him. "He got a little handsy sometimes, and my partner, gem that she is, told me to go with it."
"Huh," Emmett said. "And did that work?"
"I got the information I was after," Brendan said. "But then he started trying to kill me."
"And me," Emmett pointed out.
"That's just really bad timing on your part," Brendan told him. "I wouldn't want your luck."
"I can see why not," Emmett said. "You're doing so well yourself."
"I'm going to kill you, Brendan!" someone shouted. "You lying bastard!"
"They've got him," Brendan said. He grinned and got to his feet. "Don't call me!" he shouted. "I'll call you!"
Emmett stood up beside him, and watched as three uniformed officers shoved the struggling man into the back of a black and white. Brendan shot off a sloppy salute as a goodbye, and the man flipped him off.
"What a rush," Brendan said. He glanced at Emmett. "You okay, Dr. Emmett? Got any holes in you?"
"I'm in one piece," he said.
"You really held it together," Brendan said, sounding impressed. "Most people freak out when people are shooting at them."
"For a herpetologist," Emmett said, "I've been in my share of gunfights."
Brendan smiled. "They just never get old, do they?" He stuck his gun back in his shoulder holster, and then tried to dust himself off. It wasn't really working. Emmett figured he was probably one of those people that always looked disheveled.
Emmett also knew, just by looking at him, that Brendan was probably a handful, but he couldn't stop himself asking. "So, hey, why don't you let me buy you a drink? You did save my life and all."
"Your life is only worth a drink?" Brendan asked, with mock-surprise. "Wow. I don't know why I bothered."
"If you cut back on the sarcasm," Emmett said, "I might throw in dinner."
"Deal," Brendan said, and smiled that smile again, the blinding one; Emmett figured he was in big trouble, because he'd do a hell of a lot more than buy the guy dinner to see it again.
Freya likes the real story the best.