A/N: Okay, so let's see how I can handle writing two stories at the same time. Hope you guys enjoy this one!
I don't own anything in the Mission: Impossible universe.
Agents Hunt and Carter were glad to be back at the headquarters after their latest mission. This one hadn't been as much of a thrill ride as some of the others, and it hadn't involved either of them climbing buildings, riding on the roofs of high speed trains or taking out huge goons. However, it had taken its sweet time.
"I know I've already told you," IMF Secretary Lovett's voice was solemn but he allowed himself a little smile as he was looking at the team in front of him, "but congratulations, my friends. You all did great on your mission," he watched the agents smile and nod.
The briefing was already over and people were leaving the conference room one by one. Jane and Ethan approached the secretary, enjoying the slightly informal atmosphere after their recent triumph.
"Yes?" Lovett looked at them quizzically but still with a smile on his face.
"We'd like to know if Brandt and Benj— I mean, Dunn are back from their missions," Ethan asked, returning the smile. It would be nice to go out for drinks with some old friends… However, the agent found his smile fading as Lovett's face dropped.
"Agent Brandt is on vacation. He completed a highly exhausting mission just last week and has requested some time off. Agent Dunn… has been disavowed".
Jane and Ethan both froze where they were.
"Why?" Jane finally pushed out.
"He had a mission in Milan… and it didn't go as smoothly as expected. Being the only survivor of the team has left him… mentally unstable".
Ethan's eyes widened and Jane made a sharp intake of breath.
"How bad is it? Where is he now?" Ethan's voice was strained. Maybe Benji could use some friendly support now? Agent or not, he was still their friend.
"We have no information on his current whereabouts," the reply was dry and formal. "I am sorry, I'll have to leave you now".
The Secretary quickly made his way out and the two confused agents had nothing left to do but follow. It all seemed out of place. Brandt had never stricken them as a holiday person. And Benji… Ethan knew what it was like to be the only survivor on the team. He knew it was traumatic. And he had no idea what exactly had happened to Benji's team. But Benji was tough. He had gone through preventing the literal end of the world by mere seconds. He had nearly been killed. He had killed. Nothing had left him absolutely unaffected but he had always found the strength and ability to move on. And now… It was all too abrupt and slightly unbelievable.
As they walked along the corridor, they bumped into Luther who somehow didn't look too glad to see his friends, nodding as a greeting and making to walk away before Ethan grabbed him by the elbow.
"Do you know where Brandt might be now?" he asked, wondering himself why he had asked about the analyst first. Luther shrugged.
"On vacation. He really needs one after his last mission".
"What was that mission about?" Ethan pushed forward.
"What about Benji?" Jane intervened and watched Stickell's expression turn even grimmer than before.
"He's been disavowed," he replied, looking away. Ethan narrowed his eyes.
"What happened in Milan?" he asked in an attempt to grasp the sense of events.
"I don't really know. I heard that his entire team had been killed. The entire building their safe house was in exploded. Benji survived by pure luck. Went out to check something".
"And he went… mentally unstable?" Jane was trying to be careful with that expression; it frightened her by itself.
"How bad is it?" Ethan found himself asking the same question the second time in the same day.
"I don't know. Must be pretty bad if it got him disavowed. I only saw the medical conclusion very briefly," Luther still avoided meeting the other agents' glances. "But he can't be dangerously insane, otherwise they would have had him institutionalised," he looked down and swallowed. "Maybe they should have…" he added under his breath but the other two didn't hear him.
"You don't sound like you believe it," Ethan remarked quietly.
"As far as I know, it's true," Luther finally looked up to face his colleagues. He glanced around him before continuing. "It's just that it's not the whole truth".
He ignored the startled looks the other two gave him and sighed.
"We can't talk about it here. Come to my place tonight at eight".