Mini author note: This has been moved to the crossover section on the advice of a reviewer. It's also edited, because there were some appalling mistakes I missed.
Will rolled his shoulders and slouched but the chair remained as uncomfortable as it always was. All the cool gadgets they threw around and yet the IMF Central Office's fixtures felt like they were all cobbled together from the butchered pieces of other second-hand furniture. The office he worked at – and it was so difficult for him to think that the last time he'd been here was a mere week and a half ago – provided the very best in computer technology and managed to give him a desk chair from the '60s.
He toyed with the idea that the wait, which was going into its third hour now, was punishment for not appearing at his debriefing right away. After they'd gotten the call, from a Russian detective (and Ethan hadn't explained that one just yet), that told them Hunt was en route to a hospital and that they'd succeeded in stopping the missile, he and Benji had driven Jane to the same hospital.
There, Jane had been sent to surgery (because the bullet was still inside) where Ethan already was (because this latest knee injury hadn't been the first and that complicated things). Then, he and Benji had coordinated with Sidorov (the Russian, apparently) to explain to both of their governments exactly what had happened. It took several calls and conference calls and the arrival of the closest of CIA and SVR agents available. It was several hours before even the barest of outlines was set down and provisionally "confirmed".
Cleaning up the entire mess was going to take longer than that. The public was unaware of what had happened and it was going to stay that way, but even with nothing on official record, that the President had gone so far as to disavow an entire agency meant that Russian threats of retaliation were serious and imminent. It would take time to inform all necessary parties to stand down, to reinstate everyone, and to re-establish good diplomatic ties. Still, now that the key leaders knew the score, they could work with some measure of trust and cooperation to clear up the rest of it.
He and Benji had waited until Ethan and Jane were ready for transport so that they could all go back the States together. It was a decision that neither he nor the tech had even had to discuss, though the other two had tried to dissuade them once informed. Both injured agents were still hospital-bound, recuperating. Knowing enough after just one mission about their respective personalities, Will had stolen all the AMA forms in that medical wing to keep them there.
Now he was reporting to the newly reestablished IMF HQ, about six days after they'd ordered him to come in. He'd been welcomed, told to have a seat and then left there, as other agents bustled about.
He was still there, wondering if they were going to make him wait six days in retribution, when his cell rang. He stared at it for a few seconds before deciding to answer because it was his work phone and anyone who needed to use it (and knew the number to it) should have been in the building.
"Brandt," he said somewhat cautiously.
"I'm going to murder you," a familiar voice hissed into his ear. "I am going to rip off all of your limbs so I can beat you to death with them."
Will had been shot at underwater, he'd pulled up another man dangling out of a window 130 floors up, he'd jumped down a shaft toward some very sharp blades trusting nothing but magnets and the word of his teammates to catch him, he'd almost witnessed the beginning of a nuclear world war. And it was now, now, that he knew he was dead. But if he'd learned anything from his work, it was that plausible deniability could save your life. "Hey, bro!" he greeted cheerfully. "How're you?"
"You don't believe me. That's okay. That'll just make your inevitable painful death all the more fun. Because you'll never see me coming."
"You got yourself disavowed, you little idiot. Then you disappeared. Shot or drowned or both!"
"You, uh, heard about that, huh?"
There was a beat of silence and then, "I thought you were dead."
Will cringed. Considering how little time the mission had actually spanned and the fact that everything that had happened (including Will's participation) was being kept classified, he had hoped that the news wouldn't reach his family. Afterward, waiting in the hospital and talking to more Important People than he'd actually thought existed, the order came for no external contact until each of them had been debriefed. "I'm sorry," he said quietly, because really he was. "I didn't think – how'd you find out?"
"I work for the government and there's a former Russian agent on my team," his brother responded flatly. "Did you really think hear about it?"
"Well, when you put it that way..." Will rubbed the back of his neck.
"You were an idiot."
"Yeah." He leaned back with a sigh. "I really am sorry, you know."
There was a irritated huff on the other side. "Yeah, well, you better be. I almost killed some people."
"What? You were going to attack Russia all by yourself?" he asked with a grin.
"Not all of Russia. Just whoever took a shot at you." There was utter seriousness in the statement and Will had to swallowed through the sudden lump in his throat. "But, actually, I was talking about our own side. I may have been a little...on edge lately and all the agents around here keep getting on my last nerve."
The idea of his brother grieving, angry and uncertain and frustrated, made Will shift guiltily in his chair.
"Oh, quit it," the voice on the phone ordered, somewhat impatiently. "You owe me the next round, all right?"
It was going to take more than that to make up for it, but Will agreed. Least he could do. "Yeah."
"And the next twenty after that."
Will chuckled. "Twenty?"
"Unless you decide to spring for the good stuff early, then yeah." There was a rustling on the other side and then his brother said, "I've got to go, Will. Don't forget, all right? I'm expecting beer and the whole story."
"Yeah. I got it."
"Take care of yourself, little brother."
"You, too, Clint." Will ended the call, slipping the phone back into his pocket absently.
"I didn't know you had a brother."
Will, surprised, got to his feet and turned around. Standing just a little away from the doorway were the rest of his teammates. Ethan was leaning on a cane, Jane was standing a little gingerly to keep weight from her right side and Benji was hovering between the both of them concernedly but they were all staring at him.
"How long have you guys been here?" he said in response to Jane's question.
"We were just about to say 'hi' when your phone rang," Ethan said, apologetically.
"We didn't mean to eavesdrop but," Benji shrugged, "there wasn't any place for us to go without getting your attention. And we didn't want to interrupt but we couldn't leave again –"
"It's all right," he said. "I don't really mind if you know." He frowned then. "But, what are you guys doing out of the hospital?"
"Oh, well, the hospital re-ordered some AMA forms for us," Jane said.
"Yeah, apparently, someone stole all of the other ones a couple of days ago," Ethan said with a raised eyebrow.
"Did they?" Will asked in perfect innocence. "What an odd, odd crime to perpetrate."
"Yes, it is," Jane agreed, looking at him intently.
"Well, you know, it takes all kinds."
Will grinned at them but was saved from further interrogation when someone called him in for his debrief.
"Thou art an elder brother as well?" a voice boomed behind him and Clint turned around, still pocketing his phone. He'd been so intent on the call, he'd missed the other Avengers entering the room.
Clint sighed. "Yeah."
"He is a warrior, alike unto thee?" Thor asked. "And thou didst believe him fallen in combat?"
Clint didn't want to have to get into the whole thing about Will being a field agent and then an analyst and then pulled into the field again, so he merely nodded.
The big man's hand landed on his shoulder and Clint's knees almost buckled because Thor hadn't learned to hold back his strength around them. "I am sorry, my friend."
"We all are," Steve said, taking a step forward. "If we'd known why you were acting so–"
"Annoying?" Tony offered.
"–surly," Steve continued without missing a stride, "we would've been more understanding."
"Probably," Tony amended. "You were being really annoying." From beside him, Pepper levered a glare and moved her elbow sharply. Tony scooted away and sighed. "I mean, yeah, of course, what he said."
"You could've told us, Clint," Natasha said, touching his arm from the other side. "At the very least, I wouldn't have told you about it so bluntly."
"Thanks," he said, uncomfortably.
"Now," Thor declared, "we shall celebrate thy brother's survival. Mead!"
I'm sorry. That was a weird place to end it, but I really couldn't think of anything else.
The idea that Clint Barton and Will Brandt are related came from that fact that their last names are kind of alike. Also, Jeremy Renner. See, it sounds stupid when I write it down but it felt like a natural conclusion at the time.
The CIA is a US intelligence agency and the SVR is a Russian foreign intelligence agency.
I think that's it for all of the story notes.
Thanks for reading the fic. I had fun writing Clint and Will and their respective teams and I hope you enjoyed reading it.