This is inspired by the wonderful Red Tigress' fic Rope, within the collection of 'Ten More Songs about Brandt.' Go read it, it's awesome. This fic will be four chapters and each will focus on one member of the team. So without further ado, here's Brandt.
Warnings for swears.
It should have been a simple mission: get in, find and copy the shipping manifest and the haul ass out of there before anyone knew there was a disturbance. But of course, it wasn't that easy; Brandt had quickly learned that around Ethan Hunt, nothing was ever straight forwards.
He had infiltrated the building without incident, avoiding all the guards with the help of Benji, who had managed to piggyback the surveillance cameras. The documents he needed weren't as well guarded as they could have been and getting into the right office was practically child's play. Manifests copied with another eye camera – god he hated these things – and all he had to do was get out of the building without being seen.
The plan (which Ethan had created, meaning that Brandt was perfectly justified in blaming it all on him) had been to slip into the air vents and make his way to the roof where he could jump to the next building and climb down the fire escape without being seen. What this plan hadn't accounted for however was the idea that this drug cartel wasn't comprised entirely of morons and they had actually planned for such a scenario: the vents were booby trapped.
He had been crawling through the claustrophobic space, cussing at Benji over the comms as the technician was being thoroughly unsympathetic to his plight and then suddenly he was surrounded with the sound of muffled explosions and the vent around him was falling. For a split second the analyst hung in the air, panic racing through him despite his training and then he was hitting the floor with a crash, smacking his head against the metal casing just as the whole thing broke open. He was dazed for a moment before he was able to command his protesting body out of the tangle of metal plates bringing him face to face with the muzzle of a semi-automatic. He cursed fluently in Portuguese – in situations like this, it was best to deny any ties to the United States.
Benji was babbling at him in panic over the comm. link but the analyst blocked him out, letting his training kick itself into gear. There were two men in front of him and he could hear at least another one behind him – he was outnumbered. That wouldn't be so much of a problem, except the two men he could see were both armed and it was a safe assumption that the third man was too – there was no way he could reach for his own weapon or attack without being shot. Damn.
"Well, well. What have we here?" The deep voice came from behind him and Brandt rolled over slowly to look at the man talking.
The analyst recognised him in a heartbeat. Sebastian Letrova, a general within the cartel and number eight on Interpol's most wanted list for crimes against humanity. The guy was a complete psychopath; IMF had been itching to put a bullet in him for years now.
The silence stretched as Brandt refused to answer, settling instead for glaring at the men surrounding him. In his mind he was mapping out escape routes, the memorised plans of the building flashing behind his eyes – the whole thing was moot though unless he could get away from these four men. Without getting shot. He was going to kill Ethan.
It wasn't until the men approached him that the analyst realised that Benji had fallen completely silent and Brandt found himself almost missing the chipper voice in his ear telling him not to worry. He was dragged unceremoniously down endless corridors but not once did he lose himself – he was confident that he could still find his way out of the building without difficulty.
"Where are you taking me?" He asked after a moment, sticking to Portuguese and making his voice sound afraid. Maybe he could make them believe he was just a thief looking for a lucky break – it was a bit of a long shot but he hadn't got much to lose.
"You'll see," Letrova replied in English, though an accent from his native Bulgaria bled through. The analyst blinked at him as though he didn't understand and the general laughed at him. "Please, let us not pretend. I know that you are American just as well as you do, William."
That stopped him short. Brandt ground to a halt, planting his feet for a second before a gun was jabbed against his spine forcing him forwards again. In hindsight he shouldn't have responded, it only proved his guilt.
"I don't understand," he tried.
"Of course you do. Must we really play this game Agent Brandt?" The general switched to the same language, smirking at the analyst with a similar expression to that of a cat toying with a mouse. He didn't have time to respond to that before he was dragged into a small room and dumped into a chair. His hands had been bound behind his back but there was nothing holding him down.
All but one of the guards and Letrova left the room, leaving the agent at the general's mercy. Where the hell was Ethan? He was meant to be his backup.
'If I die because of you Hunt, I swear to whatever gods are out there that I will come back and haunt your ass,' he vowed to himself silently.
"So William. Can we converse in English now? Or would you prefer to keep pretending?" There was a hiss of venom in his tone that bit at the analyst but it was carefully covered with a layer of civility that was really quite creepy. Pyschopath indeed.
"Well, I did always want to be an actor," he shot back, refusing to switch languages, even if he had just given it away by understanding the question. The punch to his jaw was harder than he would have expected from a man of Letrova's size but Brandt had endured far worse; he didn't make a noise.
"I need to know why you came here. What did you hope to achieve?"
"You're going to kill me," he pointed out flatly. He left out the obvious 'why should I tell you anything?'
"How about a deal then? You tell me what I want to know and you can die quickly."
"Well you sure know how to charm a guy," the analyst remarked earning him another punch, in the gut time. Brandt had to gasp a little as the breath left his lungs in a rush.
Letrova snapped something in Bulgarian to his henchman who got to work with something behind the analyst's back; he didn't dare turn around to see what was going on but he listened carefully regardless, mentally cursing the fact that Bulgarian was one of the few languages he had no knowledge of at all.
"Are you going to tell me?"
"Is it going to make any difference to me?"
"Then, no," he replied with a grin, switching to English for the first time. Another punch to the gut.
"Fine. It does not matter. I have sources that can keep me informed of any information your government may have on me and my associates."
"So I'm done here?" Brandt could feel his heart speeding up at the sudden appearance of a real threat – or an immediate one, he had been in danger this whole time – and he watched the finality of Letrova's expression carefully.
"It would seem so Agent Brandt," the general said, his voice cold. That barely had time to process before a rope was being forced over the analyst's head where it tightened around his neck live a vice, hauling him upwards. He kicked out on instinct and the chair he had been sat on went flying but Brandt couldn't get away, couldn't fight and he was completely helpless as he felt his feet losing contact with the floor.
He was being hanged. Letrova, the bastard, was watching him get hanged with a fucking smile on his fucking face. Benji was talking again – 'finally, where the hell have you been?!' – with words of encouragement, telling him that help was on the way, just calm down, you can do this.
'You know what Benji? Go to hell. And stay there. Calm down?! I can't breathe, are you fucking insane?' His mind was screaming wildly and he was too terrified to try and listen to his training that was still babbling instructions in the back of his mind, sounding more like Jane than he would have expected. Letrova was still there with a look of smug satisfaction while Brandt's legs flailed, looking for a surface to take his weight but coming up empty.
For all his panicking and complete lack of composure, Brandt's training hadn't been for nothing; he could hold his breath for almost four minutes and it was paying off. That said, his vision was fading into a dull grey blur that jerked randomly by the time he heard something that wasn't Letrova laughing at his fear. His world of grey suddenly erupted with colour as red began to coat the general's chest, dripping to the floor and pooling around him. It took the man an age to fall, his face blank with surprise and even as he began to lose his sight, Brandt felt a spike of pleasure at knowing the bastard had died before he did.
The analyst was vaguely aware of someone at his side and then suddenly the rope around his neck was gone. He dropped to the ground like a stone, his legs thoroughly unprepared to take his weight but arms snatched at him before he faceplanted; a small part of his mind was grateful. The rest of him was just too busy being preoccupied with the fact he could breathe. There was air. And he could breathe.
Somewhere between the rope and the ground his eyes had slipped closed and he blinked them open again, trying to work out what was going on. Lack of oxygen did not help his higher brain functions.
"Eth..." He was able to stutter when he saw his fellow agent hovering above him, halfway to looking concerned.
"Yeah, I'm here. Just breathe Will," he ordered, moving to untie Brandt's hands. Maybe Ethan was actually a little worried – he never called him by his first name.
Time faded for a moment as the analyst let go of everything, just focusing on the flow of air in and out of his lungs, relishing the cool flush it brought to his burning chest. That had been far, far too close. As soon as he was able to speak, he voiced that opinion.
"Where the... hell have you been?" He huffed angrily, opening his eyes again to glare at Ethan. The other agent blinked at him.
"In case you'd forgotten, you're sat in the middle of a highly secure facility. I couldn't just stroll in the front door." That reminded him.
"Shouldn't we be... getting out of... here?"
"Benji and Jane have it covered for now. We have another minute or two."
"Tha- Thank you," he murmured, blinking again to clear the last of the fogginess from his vision. His head was much clearer but he could feel a migraine looming; he wanted to be out of there before it hit. Ethan noticed Brandt rousing himself and helped the agent up, taking most of his weight when the analyst was overcome with a bout of dizziness.
"You alright?" Brandt nodded. "Come on then."
The analyst was more than happy to let Ethan take the lead and he followed the team leader out of the compound without much further conflict. Over the next few days the others would look at the black bruises around his neck and silently curse how close it had been but none of them ever commented on it. They had made it and in their line of work that had to be enough. They couldn't ask for anything more.
Brandt went on many missions, faced countless deaths and it never phased him. But that mission? He wouldn't forget. The helplessness, the terror, the absolute knowledge that his death was coming, slowly and painfully and there was nothing he could do to stop it. He would remember. And if he found himself making Ethan random cups of coffee in silent thanks? He wasn't going to mention it.
All credit for the storyline goes to Red Tigress. Now go and read her story too. Don't know what update time on this will be. Probably terrible, sorry.
To readers of my other stories, I haven't died. I shall be back with new chapters soon, I swear it.