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Ethan watched Brandt slack in the man's grip, his body sagging to the ground in unmistakable defeat. His heart pounded inside his chest, adrenaline coursed through his veins, his mind screaming at him to do something, anything. He couldn't.

He played out every scenario in his head,'Brandt would be proud', but they all ended in an outcome he would not cause, that he could not face. But as he watched the man drag Brandt away from him with one arm around his friend's neck, the other holding a gun at his temple, standing there was the last thing he could do. He took two steps forward before Brandt's glassy eyes met his and he watched Will shake his head desperately telling him not to follow them, not to save him.

24 Hours Earlier...

"Brandt if you pull your stitches again, I'm just going to let you bleed out." Jane called from the small wooden table she sat at with Ethan in the kitchen of their hideout while they watched Benji try out some new gadget that he had somehow convinced Brandt to be a guinea pig for.

"I think.." Brandt started to reply, then stopped as he ducked out of the way of a pinball flying towards his face. "that's the least of my worries right now, Jane."

"Damn, I can't seem to get the trajectory on this." Benji said, fidgeting with the device he had randomly found in a bag of gadgets.

"Which probably means you should stop playing with it." Ethan countered as he took a sip of beer.

"Agreed." Brandt said, walking away from the wall that was now covered in small little dents and an occasional hole. "I don't know how I got roped into being a test dummy, especially with my arm in a sling, but I quit before I get an eye taken out."

"Oh, come on! You know I would get you one of those glass eyeballs, like the guy from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies!" Benji replied and discarded the device as he follow Brandt to the kitchen table and sat down.

"Lovely." Brandt shot back sarcastically.

The team sat around the table making small talk, reveling in what little normalcy they could conjure up until Ethan's phone rang and he excused himself from the table. The remaining three members carried on their conversation, while Ethan stepped outside.

"Please tell me you've got something for me."

"I do, Ethan, but that doesn't mean you're going to like it." Luther replied.

"That seems to be the cycle. Just tell me."

"I was able to get some info from the phone you found in the car. I traced it back to a guy by the name of Leonard Amador. He's working out of a shop on the harbor."

"Give me the-"

"The coordinates, yeah. I've sent them to you, but listen man. This guy is just the one who sent out the message, not who ordered it."

"Yeah, Luther. I need him alive to get the actual guy who sanctioned the hit." Ethan chuckled at his friend for treating him like a 'wet behind the ears' agent.

"Ethan." Luther said, his tone anything but light.


"Have you...given any thought to the idea that..."

"That what Luther? Spit it out."

"That maybe the hit on Brandt is just a distraction?"

Ethan snorted and shook his head, thinking the idea illogical. However, the more he thought about it, he was beginning to doubt his first reaction.

"A distraction for what?"

"Look man, I don't know, but I know I'm not the only one that finds it hard to believe someone wants that kid dead. Unless Mr. Rogers is hiding some dark secrets, I'd almost be willing to bet there's a bigger angle than the kid's death."

"Mr. Rogers hid tattoos under his sweaters." Ethan replied, gaining a laugh from Luther on the other end of the line.

"Well, if you find any let me know."

"Yeah. Thanks, Luther. I'll be in touch."

Ethan walked back into the kitchen to find his team exactly the way he had left them except with a bit more laughter.

"I hope the laughter isn't at my expense." He stated, sitting back down.

"Oh, no worries mate. It is mine." Benji replied and tactfully changed the subject. "So who was that on the phone?"

Ethan took a sip of his beer before replying. "That was Luther."

"Oh, yeah? Did he find anything from the phone?" Jane asked.

"Yeah, traced it to a guy off the harbor."

"Great so when do we leave?" Benji asked, sitting forward in his chair. Ethan shook his head at the eager agent and eyed Brandt, who had yet to speak up. He found it odd.

"In the morning. Dawn sharp. Go ahead pack, then get some sleep. We'll prep in the van."

Benji and Jane removed themselves from the table and went into the next room to start packing. Brandt slowly stood from his chair, but went to the sink to get some water. Ethan took the opportunity.

"Do you have any tattoos Brandt?" He asked, still seated at the table as he twisted his bottle of beer with his fingertips around the neck of the bottle. The other agent turned from the sink, glass in hand, and leaned back against the counter to fix him with a confused expression.

"Come again?"

Ethan chuckled to himself, then shook his head. "Secrets, Brandt. I mean secrets."

"I- I don't follow." Will responded now completely perplexed. Ethan took another swig of his drink and took a deep breath.

"Is there any reason, ANY reason, that someone would want you dead?"

Brandt rubbed a hand down his face, before resting his knuckles against his mouth. He was silent for a moment, looking off into space in thought, then he turned his gaze back to Ethan.

"I've tried to think. I've went over every moment of my life that I can even vaguely remember, sure there are small things I've done to piss people off or whatever, but I can't think of one worthy of death."

Ethan chuckled softly, before rising from his chair and moving to lean against the counter beside Brandt. He could tell the agent was uneasy, but completely honest.

"What's going on Brandt?"

Will swallowed and ran his foot along a black scuff mark on the floor.


"I lived for years with the guilt of Croatia. The feeling of being responsible for someone's death... it's worse than death itself. Even now, knowing that...that she's alive, sometimes I forget. I still think about what she went through when they killed her."

Ethan was silent a moment, waiting to see if Brandt would continue. When he didn't, Ethan chose to speak. "Brandt. We're trained agents. Hell, we stopped nuclear war. I think our team can manage this mission. Is there a chance that someone will get hurt? Yeah, there definitely is, but I know for a fact that the three of us are prepared and willing to take that chance."

Brandt looked at Ethan and lifted the corner of his mouth in an attempt at a smile.

"Get some rest Brandt." With that, Ethan left the agent standing there by the sink.

"Alright. Jane you take the south entrance. Benji cover the west. I'll cover east. Brandt, stay in the van."

"What?" Brandt asked, bewildered. "I'm not staying in the van."

"Yes, you are. And that's an order." Ethan replied, standing face to face with Brandt, so he would know there was no room for argument. Once Will nodded, Ethan got out of the van, followed by Jane who gave Brandt one last warning look, then Benji.

Brandt sat in the van, his leg bouncing with nervous energy and apprehension. He could hear his team in his own transceiver placed in his ear, but it wasn't helping. Imagines of Benji, Ethan and Jane being wounded or killed flooded his mind. He shook his head to rid his fears, but to no avail. He rubbed his hand up and down his face a few times before a fourth unfamiliar voice filtered through his earpiece.

"Well, well, well. It's my lucky day."

Brandt held his breath as he waited for a voice to answer back, the voice that belonged to the agent that was in danger.

"Oh yeah? And why is that?" Ethan's voice answered back.

"Because I know a guy who's looking for you and if I'm the one to bring you to him, well let's just say my compensation is very reasonable."

"Ethan?" Jane called over the radio, followed by Benji questioning what was happening. But he didn't answer.

Silence fell, twisted Brandt's stomach in knots and made his heart pound. After a few more seconds he heard Ethan's voice again.

"Well I would hate to be the one to keep you from your payment."

The man laughed, and Brandt could here footsteps fill the silence that had fell again. This time Brandt didn't wait to hear what would happen next. Instead, he did the one thing he wasn't supposed to do. He left the van.

Ethan watched the armed man walk towards him, his intentions clear. Knowing that if he reached for his gun behind his waist, the man would either rush him or shoot him, he lifted his hands in the air in surrender and waited for the man to come near him. The gunsel reached up to grab his wrist and Ethan made his move. His elbow connected harshly with the man's ribs, but his attacker didn't falter. Instead, an arm encircled his neck cutting off his air supply. He tried to remain calm, but the lack of oxygen only made his desperation increase. He began kicking his legs in a desperate attempt, but to no avail. He began to see black on the borders of his vision, and in one last attempt he kicked as hard he could. His foot made contact with the man's knee sending it into an awkward angle.

He was released from the man's grasp, as the man fell to the ground. He quickly kicked the gun from his attacker's hand and reached for his own. Ethan aimed his gun on the man.

"Who's your boss?"

The man rolled back and forth holding his knee while groaning in pain.

"Answer my question or I'll put a bullet in your other one."

" hell." The man grounded out. Ethan fired a shot just beside the man to startle him. It worked.

"Ok. Ok. Ok! His name is-"

"Ethan get down!" Ethan heard Jane shout. It took a second to process the message, but he managed to turn around, taking his eyes off the injured gunsel on the floor and see another man running towards him with a gun aimed on him. He managed to move just as the man pulled the trigger, but the bullet grazed his arm. Another shot rang out and when the second gunsel fell he realized it had been Jane who had fired.

"Are you alright?" Jane asked, now standing in front of Ethan who held a hand to his bicep.

"Yeah, it just graz-" But his response was cut off by another gun shot.

Brandt ran as fast as he could, ignoring the pain in his shoulder and the pulling sensation on his stomach. He entered the building, gun drawn. He could still hear the team in his transceiver, but he could hear the gunshots ring out in the building. He followed the deafening sound, until he could see Ethan and Jane standing at the end of a hallway. He let out a relieved breath, but it was short lived. He saw the figure that was sprawled out behind his two teammates move, unbeknownst to ethan and Jane. He squinted his eyes to try and see what the man was doing, but when he saw a glint of silver he wasted no time in lifting his own weapon and firing.

Ethan and Jane jumped at the sound of another gunshot, looking frantically around for another gunsel. However, Jane spotted Brandt down the hall and Ethan turned his attention to the first gunsel, who was now dead.

"Brandt! What are you doing?" Jane called, making Ethan turn around as well. They watched Brandt wearily walk towards them, until they were standing in front of each other.

"That's a hell of a good question! I told you not to leave the van!" Ethan stated.

"Yeah, and if I had you two would probably be dead!" Brandt countered, motioning towards the man he had just killed.

"What's with all the gunshots? Are you guys ok? Brandt? What are you doing out of the van?" Benji's voice broke into their conversation as the tech entered the room and holstered his weapon.

"One question at a time Benji." Brandt replied.

"Let's start with why you're out of the van." Jane countered, crossing her arms.

"Guys, we deal with that later. Right now we've got bigger issues." Ethan interjected, trying to get his team back on task.

"No, I think I would like to know why Mr. Brandt left the van." A new voice replied, from behind Benji.

Ethan, Jane and Brandt immediately aimed their gun on the man. However, the new gunsel cocked his own gun and aimed at Benji's head.

"Ah, ah, ah. I wouldn't advise that. Unless of course you're willing to sacrifice your agent."

The three of them didn't move, not wanting to drop their weapons but not wanting to get Benji killed.

The man pressed the gun harder into Benji's temple. "I would drop your weapons if I were you."

Slowly, and regretfully, each agent dropped their weapon and kicked it away when the man motioned for them to do so. They all watched with nervous tension as the man slowly walked towards them, gun still trained at Benji's temple. A new gunsel appeared beside them.

"I'll make you deal, Agent Hunt." The man holding Benji hostage said. "I'll let this one go, if agent Brandt takes his place."

"That doesn't really sound like a deal." Ethan replied.

The man smiled. "Very well then. Brian, take Agent Dunn and take your time with him."

Brian moved to take Benji, but stopped short when Brandt spoke up.

"Wait! I'll go. I'll take his place. Just let him go. Let them all go."

Both Ethan and Jane turned furious looks towards Brandt.

"Ah, that's a wise decision Mr. Brandt. Brian, change of plans. Show Agents Hunt, Carter and Dunn the way out."

The man took Benji's gun before letting him go. "Oh, if any of you decide to make trouble for Brian, know that your efforts will result in horrifying consequences for Agent Brandt."

She gave him a look to kill, before Brian shoved her down the hallway followed by Benji and Ethan. Brian walked behind them, Jane and Ethan walking side by side, Benji walking in front of them. Jane caught Ethan's eye and silently relayed a message, knowing their interpretation of 'the way out' was different than the gunsel's. He swallowed before nodding his head one time. They locked eyes again a few seconds later, then without warning Benji of their plan, Ethan turned around and elbowed Brian in the face, the sickening crack of his nose brought a smile to the agent's face. Jane grabbed his gun from his loose grip, tossed it to a startled Benji and grabbed the man around the neck and covered his mouth with her hand.

"Make a sound and I'll break your neck."

Benji stood in shock, taken back by the sudden assault Jane and Ethan just pulled off. Ethan asked Jane if she had Brian under control. When he received a nod from her he said, "Secure this guy. I'm going after Brandt."

Ethan ran as fast as he could back towards the last place he saw Brandt. He heard a sickening scream that only made him run faster. He entered the room to find it empty except for the two dead gunsels and a small blood trail going to the back of the building.

He picked up one of the discarded guns and followed the trail. He was quietly following, when he heard a muffled scream. He picked up his pace and followed the blood out into a hallway. The sight at the end of the hallway that greeted him, made his heart drop and his blood boil.

The man was practically dragging Brandt down the hallway, his arm wrapped around Brandt's neck, making the agent have to walk hunched over. The agent wasn't going willingly, though. He was fighting with all the energy he could muster, but it wasn't enough. Unfortunately, the man was tired of it and drove his free fist that held the gun into Brandt's stomach, making the agent crumbled to the floor.

Ethan raised his gun, aimed at the gunsel and pulled the trigger. But nothing happened. He pulled it again. Time after time, nothing happened. The chamber was empty.

"Are you done fighting me, kid? You try something again, I'll cut off a finger." The man threatened as he squatted down with Brandt to keep his arm firmly around the agent's neck. Brandt nodded weakly in understanding, conciseness threatening to leave him. The man stood dragging him up with him, but he couldn't stand on his legs properly. The man however didn't seem to care and all but dragged him by the neck.

Brandt looked up and saw Ethan standing at the end of the hall. If he was really standing there or it was just Brandt's mind playing out delirium he wasn't sure. But which ever Ethan was standing there, he didn't want him to be killed. He saw him start to run towards him. He locked eyes with him, making sure he could relay his message and shook his head. When Ethan stopped mid stride, he knew his friend understood.


Ethan watched Brandt slack in the man's grip, his body sagging to the ground in unmistakable defeat. His heart pounded inside his chest, adrenaline coursed through his veins, his mind screaming at him to do something, anything. He couldn't.

He played out every scenario in his head,'Brandt would be proud', but they all ended in an outcome he would not cause, that he could not face. But as he watched the man drag Brandt away from him with one arm around his friend's neck, the other holding a gun at his temple, standing there was the last thing he could do. He took two steps forward before Brandt's glassy eyes met his and he watched Will shake his head desperately telling him not to follow him, not to save him.

I do believe this is the worst cliffhanger I've ever written. haha Sorry! Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about this chapter!

P.S. I don't own Mission: Impossible or Pirates of the Caribbean and Mr. Rogers is a character from a children's tv show from a long time ago. I don't own that either.