Hey all, so after seeng M:I4 my twelve year Jeremy Renner crush kicked in with a vengeanance and this just had to be written! It's a new fandom for me so hopefully i've managed to keep the characters in...well...character. Forgive me if i haven't. This is un beta'd so you can't have my mistakes. Also this is my first fanfic in a while so forgive any cobwebs you find.
Disclaimer: They're all mine...i wish.
Trying to pinpoint the moment when it had all had gone to hell was easier than he'd first thought. There were a few seconds between Ethan's "Guys, we got trouble" and Benji's "Oh shit on a stick" that it all went decidedly south for Brandt. There'd been more bad guys than they'd anticipated, another agency had unfortunately been tracking the same guys, confusion rained and shots had been fired.
Somewhere, amongst all that, Brandt had raced in front of a guy who'd aimed his gun at Jane and ended up getting tackled by a now very embarrassed member of Interpol into a freezing cold river, thus hitting his head in the process and gauging out a chunk of his arm.
He was currently sat on a chair shivering in his t-shirt and pants, opposite Ethan who had the hand of his injured arm in a grip while he dabbed anti-sceptic and cleaned the parts of the wound Brandt hadn't allowed the paramedics time to do. Jane and Benji sat in chairs facing the small table in the apartment they'd commandeered for the latest mission, the mission that was now in the toilet thanks to mis-communication with Interpol. Blood seeped slowly from beneath the band aid above his right eye. Brandt sighed, not for the first time, as he sat listening to Jane and Benji take turns berating him for not going to the hospital.
"The paramedics said there's no concussion." He argued, again.
"Not the point , Will." Jane's voice rose a notch in both pitch and volume. "They said they were pretty sure there was no concussion but for safety's sake you should get checked out."
Ethan tried to suppress a grin when Brandt breathed out a sigh of frustration. He felt for the man, had been on the receiving end of this particular rant many times, so yeah, maybe he was enjoying being a spectator for once.
"You needed stitches in that. Should have gone to the hospital." Benji added in while gesturing to Will's bloodied shirt that was balled up on the floor. He had yet to actually look at the gash itself.
"Ethan's gonna do them." Will answered, he'd deny the edge in his voice if anyone called him on it.
"What about the impending hypothermia?" The computer tech snapped. He wasn't trying to get a rise out of Brandt, but the haunting visual of his friend going over the edge of the bridge to drop into the dark depths below had rattled him. So he was venting in the only way he knew how . Perhaps it wasn't fair to be aiming his frustrations at the injured man, but tough.
"Am I slurring?"
"Then shut up."
"Ok guys." Ethan finally left the sidelines and joined in. "The paramedics gave us strict instruction that if this idiot." He held his hand up to silence Brandt. "If this idiot was refusing a hospital visit that we were to look out for slurred speech, drowsiness and uncoordinated movements. So far have any of you seen any of those?"
Ethan again held his hand up to silence Brandt.
Jane studied Brandt, with an intensity that made him sit back a little. She leaned forward , resting her elbows on her knees. "Do you agree, unconditionally, that we get to decide the moment you may need to go to the hospital?"
Benji shut his mouth, knowing that the tone Jane was using right now meant that just one little comment from anyone other than Brandt would result in violence.
Brandt swallowed. Nodded slowly and tensed all over in readiness for the moment the angry, worried and increasingly scary woman before him decided to pounce, knock him over and drag him to the emergency room.
"Ok then. I'll go heat you a blanket and get you some dry clothes." Jane stood so quickly that all three men flinched. She smirked as she made her way to grab some towels and clothes and throw them in one of the driers down the hall to warm them up.
"Er, Will?" Ethan broke the silence as he tried to get the former analyst's attention.
"Huh?" The injured man turned his worried, ok, maybe terrified, gaze to his team leader.
"Need you to loosen your grip there, buddy."
Brandt looked down at the arm Ethan was trying to clean, he followed the limb to the hand that currently had Ethan's fingers in a death lock.
"Oh! Sorry." He replied sheepishly as he let go. Ethan waved his apology off as he flexed the blood back into his hand.
Will let out the longest breath of his life. He raised his eyebrows to Benji who was sat trying to stifle a relieved bout of the giggles.
"Laugh it up geek boy, she could easily turn the murderous mother hen act on you, you know."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"Twisted your ankle didn't you."
Both Ethan and Benji looked up at Will. The man really didn't miss a trick.
"How'd you? You know what? Never mind. I'm not the one bleeding, I'm not the one who decided to have his jolly's jumping into a freezing cold river to have a little swim swim with his new boyfriend. I'm not the one who thought, ooo I know, I haven't run in front of a gun wielding assailant for a while, why not now. AND I'M NOT THE ONE WHO COULD HAVE VERY EASILY HIT HIS HEAD OH SO SLIGHTLY HARDER AND ENDED UP AS A DEAD BODY ON THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN! OK?"
"It was a river, not the ocean. Would you have rather I let the guy take out Jane? And as much as I said that one time that I should be the one to seduce the rich guy, I don't swing that way."
"You can't just let me have my little say so can you? Oh no, gotta go along and correct and critique the whole way."
The English agent paused, took a deep breath and nodded. "Yeah, I know. But you could of very easily have not been."
"But I am, so let's stick with that."
"I suppose." Pouted Benji.
Ethan watched each member of his team with a bemused look as the exchange took place. He felt like he was watching an intense volley in tennis. When he'd said they worked well together he meant it. And with each passing mission that fact solidified. Despite the fear and the unknown in every mission, they worked so fluidly and perfectly together, each watching the other's back and managing to both execute what was needed while remaining aware of the safety of the other members. It was rare when it was found, and it wasn't something he would be letting go of any time soon. Even if he could clearly see that Benji's rant had helped escalate Brandt's headache.
"Well, now that's over, how about I go ahead and stitch this cut?"
Benji swallowed and looked around eyeing the little kitchen that sat behind the living room. "I should go make some nice warm soup. Help get you warmed up, Will."
"Sounds good, thanks." Will didn't tease him for his needing to escape from watching Ethan stitch up the gash. And truth be told, he needed a break from the scrutiny and concern that was coming off Benji in waves. Jane hid hers behind simmering anger while Ethan hid his behind his current role as doctor.
"They shouldn't worry." Brandt said as Ethan readied the needle.
"Really? Why not?"
"I'm fine." Will finally turned his head back to look at Ethan. "Could have gone wrong, but it didn't. So they shouldn't worry." He looked pointedly at his leader to emphasis that he was including him in the 'they'.
Ethan nodded and began stitching up the gash. He was hoping a few stitches would be all that was needed. The injured man held his breath in anticipation of the pain from the needle, but Ethan was quick and gentle. Will barely felt anything but the tug.
"So, if the shouldn't worry, neither should you." Ethan didn't look up from his ministrations but he felt Brandt turn his blue eyes back to glare at him.
"What do you mean by that?"
"The mission before last." Ethan glanced up, insuring Brandt knew which one he meant.
"The ninja that Jane took on?"
"The guy was Italian."
"Italians can be ninjas."
"Anyway, you remember how you ranted on her to be more careful and watch her back?"
"She ended up with a concussion and black eye that went beyond black."
"You get my point though, Will."
Brandt looked up, his gaze locked onto Ethan's. "Will, we all worry about each other. That's just part of being a team. But the concern level we've reached now is something I've never had with any team previously. We're more than a team."
"We're family." Interjected Will.
"Right. And as such we get to rant and rave as much as we need when we're scared and worried."
"I'm not used to that." Will said quietly.
"I know." Said Ethan as he dabbed the stitches with a little more anti-sceptic before he began to wrap the arm. "Me neither."
Will ran his left hand over his face, accidentally smearing a little of the seeping blood from his head wound across his forehead. He closed his eyes and sighed as he let the hand drop back to the table. "God I'm tired. Not drowsy I might add. But tired. Like normal tired. Like I've had a big day and I need to sleep a bit kinda tired."
Ethan looked up smirking. "Let me at that head wound and you can go lay down on the couch and sleep."
"It's either that or you suffer everyone hanging out in your room while you sleep."
"Good point, although creepy. And the couch is actually more comfortable than the bed."
Both men laughed, finally feeling at ease and relaxed after the drama of the morning.
Ethan moved his chair so that he was sat next to Will, he leaned forward and carefully pealed off the old bandage to get a good look at the wound. He already knew from the paramedics that it would require a couple of stitches. Thankfully he'd had more than enough practice at doing them so this little repair job didn't phase him in the slightest. With one hand holding Brandt's head still, he went to work cleaning off both the dried and fresh blood. The injured man tried to look anywhere but directly at Ethan, worried that the older man would see right through him and realise that he was now beyond tired and ready to collapse.
One thing he absolutely would not be doing. No way was he going to the hospital. That place was for sick people. And no way was he sick. Nope. Not at all.
"This'll only need a couple of stitches, then you can sleep."
"Yeah, great." Brandt couldn't help the yawn that had been building from suddenly breaking free. "I'm ok." He quickly added.
"Sure you are."
Brandt finally looked ahead at Ethan. "Thanks, you know, for not insisting I go to the hospital."
"That's ok. But if there ever comes a time when I know you should, when its something that we can't handle, then there will be no arguments. Got it?" Ethan fixed Brandt with a look that brooked no arguments.
"Anyway," Started Ethan as he completed his second stitch in Will's head. "The rant Benji went on was nothing like the rant you subjected him to. You even had him up and pinned against the wall."
"It wasn't that dramatic."
"I think Benji would disagree."
"The fireball was in the computer room he was in!"
"You screamed at Benji for two days about not ducking quick enough and that he had to be more careful. All he'd sustained were burned eyebrows."
"He did look ridiculous until they grew back."
"Yeah, but the ones Jane drew on him were just plain scary."
"The what I drew on who?" Asked Jane as she came back with the warm clothes. Brandt and Ethan looked at each other for two whole seconds before dissolving into laughter. Ethan sat back not only to compose himself but also allow Jane room to pull a warmed sweatshirt over Will's head.
"You know what, I don't even want to know." She laughed. Will stopped laughing as the warmth from the material began to seep into his skin.
"There's a blanket too, and some sweatpants. I'll leave those to you though and get the couch ready."
Ethan finished cleaning Will's head and placed a thick band aid over the now stitched up gash. By the time he'd finished the injured man's eyes were closed as he slid slowly toward slumber. Ethan gently shook his friend's shoulder and smiled as Brandt's eyes shot open.
"You can stand down for a few days you know. We've got your back."
"Sounds good to me."
"You think you can manage to change into those." Ethan asked as he gestured to the clothes Jane had left on the table.
"Yes." Said Will indignantly.
"Good, then hurry up or Benji will burn that soup dry."
Benji placed the mug of steaming soup on the coffee table and watched as Jane and Ethan flanked Will as he made his way toward the couch. With each step Benji could see the man start to flag. Thankfully Jane and Ethan were ready for the moment his legs gave way and easily caught him. Instantly Brandt turned a panicked gaze to Jane.
"Not drowsy." He said drowsily. "Just tired."
"No my friend you're not, you're crashing."
Brandt switched his pleading gaze to Benji. "No hospital."
Benji smiled as he moved to help Will lay on the couch. "Don't worry, if she so much as reaches for the car keys I'll stop her."
"Promise?" Asked Will as he settled into the couch. His eyes had already closed as Jane repositioned his hands onto his stomach and tucked the warm blanket around him. Ethan watched bemused from behind the couch, leaning on the back and looking down at his team mate with affection.
"Promise. Now go to sleep, I'll keep the soup warm for when you wake up."
Will's breathing started to even out as Jane settled herself into the small armchair across from the couch. Benji stood, grabbing his lap top and settling onto the floor, leaning back against the couch by Will's chest.
"Benj ?" Came a quiet enquiry from the couch.
"I'm glad your eyebrows grew back."
Benji spun round, ready to question his injured team mate. Ethan caught his attention and shook his head while stifling his own laughter. Jane frowned, perplexed, but shrugged and picked up her book. The book she'd started five missions ago while waiting for Ethan to heal from his injuries.
As Will finally succumbed to his exhaustion, the other's settled in around him to keep watch. This was their routine, their promise to each other. No matter what they'd be there , as a team, as a unit, as a family.
Thanks so much for reading. See that little button there, right there, you know you wanna hit it, go on, let me know what you thought. x