A/N: Thanks very much to SicklySweetNanny for the prompt (at least two people in the team physically fighting) and the beta as well. I had fun writing the fight scene for this one.
Brandt was the first one back into their grungy hotel room. Not a word was said as the rest of the group filed in after him. He didn't look at them, instead swiping a vase off the table in anger.
"Benji, get that tracker running." Ethan ordered. Benji nodded affirmatively, popping open his laptop and placing himself in a chair far away from the seething Brandt. Jane moved to stand near him. Ethan turned to Brandt then. "Brandt, it had to be done this way."
"What, Ethan? Willingly giving complete biological weapons to a terrorist organization? This is the second time. You can't keep doing this!"
"We didn't know they were tied to the Syndicate until the transfer. We had to give them something. We can follow them this way." Ethan's voice remained calm as he faced down the analyst.
Brandt barked out a laugh, clutching his forehead. "This is so…infuriating, Ethan. There are other ways! We have the resources."
"You know as well as I do we couldn't get to those in time. We had to do this on the fly if we want to track the Syndicate."
"SCREW the Syndicate, Ethan." Brandt moved in close to the other man, an accusatory finger almost touching his chest. Ethan stared him down. "Let someone else find the goddamn Syndicate, we have multiple teams to do that!"
"This could have been our only chance-"
"You willingly gave biological weapons to a terrorist, Ethan!" Brandt shouted. "That worked once, once, and it didn't even work that well! You're insane, and now people are going to die because of it." Brandt hissed.
Jane and Benji only looked on in shock, too surprised at the argument to say anything.
Ethan's voice finally rose past the calm, rational tone they had been getting used to as he leaned forward. "I did what I had to, Brandt, and maybe if you stopped looking past the short term consequences once in a while, you'd be a much more effective agent!"
"I'm DONE being an effective agent, Ethan, I'm out!" Brandt moved for the door, but Ethan sidestepped in front of him. Jane and Benji continued to watch in silence.
"We're not done, Agent Brandt," Ethan growled, placing a hand on his chest to stop him.
Brandt looked down at the hand on his chest, then looked back up at Ethan, narrowing his eyes. "Get your hand off me," he said dangerously.
"There's still the mission-"
Brandt didn't let him finish, instead placing his own hands on Ethan's forearm to move it himself. Ethan responded by trying to swat Brandt's right hand away with his free left hand. And then they were moving.
Ethan pushed back on Brandt's chest, hard. Brandt took a step backward, but as he tilted to his left, he swung a right hook at Ethan's head. Muscle memory rapidly replaced logic as the move was easily blocked, and Ethan responded quickly by hooking his left foot around the back of Brandt's right leg, sending him off-balance and crashing to the ground.
Jane moved forward to intervene, but she hesitated, reluctant to get in between the two men. Brandt swung his legs up and over his torso, rolling away backwards from Ethan before hopping up again. With a growl, he lunged forward trying to land a left-handed jab into Ethan's torso. Ethan twisted, catching his arm, but was unable to block Brandt's follow up kick to his lower back, making him grunt and release the other man.
"Stop it!" Jane shouted with all the authority she could muster. She looked at Benji helplessly, but he had genuine fear in his eyes when he looked back at her, and neither was sure what to do.
Ethan moved forward with a kick aimed at Brandt's side, but Brandt blocked it with both arms before spinning away, aiming another jab at Ethan's side. Ethan caught his arm, and used Brandt's momentum to hurl him into a wall where he grunted as his elbow punctured the drywall.
"Ethan, stop it!" Jane screamed at them, but her cries went unheard. Benji was on his feet now, but both were paralyzed with fear at how quickly things had gotten out of hand.
With a guttural yell, Brandt launched himself from the wall, tackling Ethan to the ground. Straddling him, he landed a few punches on Ethan's face, before Ethan viciously threw the heel of his hand into Brandt's jaw, staggering the other man. Ethan rolled them over, pressing his forearm down on Brandt's sternum, but before he could pin down his legs, Brandt kneed him in the stomach making Ethan double over in pain. Jane and Benji were screaming now, but Ethan and Brandt ignored them. Physical training and rage had completely engulfed the men, making it impossible to detect anything else.
Brandt grabbed the still-dazed Ethan behind the head, pulling him forward as he shot his own head forward directly at Ethan's nose. He was rewarded a crack, and feeling the warm spray of blood on his own forehead. Ethan fell back with a grunt, but before Brandt could follow up he delivered a savage kick to the other man's jaw, feeling it give way with a sickening, but satisfying snap.
Brandt fell backwards, clutching his face and moaning loudly, as Ethan fell backwards himself, panting hard. "Benji, send that tracking info to IMF and tell them to send someone else, we're done," Jane shouted at him, moving over to Brandt.
"Wha? Oh, right…" Benji moved quickly back to his forgotten laptop, typing away, but looking up at his injured teammates. Jane was hesitant to touch Brandt's jaw as he continued rolling on the floor and moaning, not saying anything coherently. She looked back at Ethan, who met her eyes and nearly flinched at the anger he could see simmering there. She grabbed someone's sweatshirt off the couch next to them and threw it at him. He caught it, holding it to his nose which was still gushing blood, but didn't say anything. Instead, he got to his feet, moving towards the door. "Ethan," she pleaded. The door slammed behind him. She got up to follow. "Benji, take care of him," she said, pointing to Brandt and rushing after Ethan.
Benji moved over to his teammate's side, putting his hands on his shoulders to try and help him sit up. "D-don't touch me!" Brandt ground out painfully. Benji pulled back his hands as if he'd been burned.
"Sorry, I…" Benji trailed off helplessly.
Brandt seemed to become aware of who had actually tried to help him then. Still moaning loudly in pain, he sat up, leaning heavily against the couch and breathing harshly in between his cries of pain. "S…sorry Benji," he whispered.
"It's ok, mate," Benji said, gently pulling his hand away from his jaw. The right side of it was already beginning to swell up and turn black and the tech could see where his teeth were no longer lining up. Benji hissed in sympathy, before running to the mini-fridge to grab an ice pack. Bringing it back to the injured man, he said "Just…use this for now, I don't think I'm allowed to give you anything stronger." Brandt groaned again, but in anger this time.
"Ffffuckin'efan" he slurred. Benji just kept looking back at the doorway, not saying anything.
Meanwhile, Ethan hadn't gotten far down the hallway of the hotel before Jane caught up. "Ethan, stop." She commanded. He reluctantly paused and turned to face her, still holding the bloody sweatshirt up to his face. She slowed, letting out the breath she had been holding, glad he was at least consenting to listen to her. She was afraid she might have had to shoot him. "Ethan, you can't do this. You can't…just lose it at your teammates like that."
"Yeah? And Brand can?" The end of the other agent's name was muddled, due to his still gushing nose.
"Brandt's always been reluctant about returning to the field, you know that. Hell, that's why you keep him around, to be the voice of rationality. You can't fault him for that. You're our team leader, if you can't keep your temper under control-"
"Do you think I haven' been betrayed by enud teammates to last a lifetime?" he interrupted her harshly. "If he doesn't want to be on da team, that's fine, he can leave. I'd rabber he did!" Even though Ethan's pronunciation might have made her laugh at any other time, now his tone struck a cord. Of course. She mentally smacked herself for not realizing sooner. Ethan wanted the same thing the rest of them did, perhaps even more so. He just wanted a stable group he could trust, so he wouldn't get hurt. Again. And the thought of losing them terrified him.
"He brode my nose," he insisted.
"You broke his jaw," she fired back. She took another deep breath. "Ethan," she said softly. "I don't think Brandt was going to leave. He just…needed time. You both did. And you need to listen to him once in a while."
She cut him off. "Ethan, you've been shooting down his ideas since he got here. You play fast and loose, and that's the exact opposite of how he runs. He thinks he's not valued here, and that you're just going to throw away everything he suggests. You have to give him some space, and acknowledgement."
For a moment, Ethan looked like he was about to argue. But then the fight finally drained out of his shoulders. He sighed heavily, before meeting her eyes. "Danks, Jane."
"We'll call it even if you get back in there and apologize before he tries to leave again."
When they came in, Brandt was still sitting on the floor, his head resting on the seat of the couch behind him. Benji was kneeling next to him, but leapt to his feet quickly when Jane and Ethan came in.
"Ethan!" he exclaimed. Jane grabbed Benji's wrist and led him to one of the bed rooms where she shut the door, giving the other two men some privacy.
They said nothing for a few minutes, Ethan staring down at Brandt, who was doing his best not to quake with fury and pain. Finally, Ethan took the bloody sweatshirt from off his face, and spoke.
"You were completely right," he started, having better control over his pronunciation now. "I…shouldn't have done what I did. There were other ways. I…" he hesitated, his stomach twisted in knots looking at the pained man before him. "…didn't want to listen to you. When I should have. So…I'm sorry. About everything."
Brandt let out a huff. "There's…'nother team…on it?" he asked.
"Yes!" Benji's muffled voice called out from behind the closed door, followed by a thunk and an "Ow!"
Brandt smiled slightly. "Ya know…really dida…number on me…" he slurred.
Ethan gave a tiny smile. "You probably won't be able to eat solid foods for a week." Brandt groaned. "But I'm going to have to wear one of those stupid nose masks."
"Sorry," Brandt whispered. "Didn't meanta…lose it…" he looked away.
"We both lost it, Brandt. And it's inexcusable, on my part." He sighed again heavily, running his hand through his hair. "Look, after this if you still want to leave-"
"No!" Brandt said hurridly. "I just…don' wanna be within'…kicking range of you." Ethan smiled. "Now, 'elp me up." Brand theld out his hand expectantly, and Ethan reached for it, pulling him up while he held the icepack to his jaw with the other one. Ethan than moved over to the bedroom door, opening it quickly and catching Jane and Benji in the act of having their ears pressed against it. Benji fell forward a little while Jane stood up quickly.
"Hospital. Now." Ethan ordered.
"Ooh, what story are we going to tell them now?" Benji asked sarcastically as he grabbed the keys to their van.
"How you suffered a head injury for being sarcastic to your team leader." Benji paled for a second, and then looked angry.
"Ethan, you can't joke like that ten minutes after you injured your own teammate."
"It's fiiiiiiiiine," Brandt said as the team made their way down the hallway. "Wanna see him…hit you too."
"Don't know what I did to deserve this," Benji mumbled.