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Hell or High Water

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Jesus, this was like something out of a goddamn James Bond movie.

Except if Brandt was James Bond, trapped in a cage, water rising rapidly, Benji was Blofeld's cat.

Brandt leaned tiredly on the bars, glaring at the other man running around the catwalk above him. "I SAID, the relay is OVER THERE," he growled, pointing to the east end of the boathouse.

"I'm telling you, it's not over there!" Benji shouted frantically back, still running around like a crazed animal. Brandt sagged hopelessly against the bars.

"If I drown, I'm coming back to haunt your ass for being an idiot."

"Brandt, I swear, I've looked a thousand times. It's not there."

Will didn't bother to respond this time; he was too tired and too sore to deal with Benji's spastic energy levels. It wasn't really the tech's fault, anyway. This was supposed to be some CIA transfer's first mission as team leader… What was the guy's name? Casey? Cartney? Cary - That's it… The guy had pulled out at the last minute on account of one of his guys breaking a fucking toe or some petty shit like that. That left Hunt and team about a day to prepare before going in to retrieve some heavy-duty weapon hidden on the boat somewhere.

Turned out the boat was the weapon, which had been set on a course to collide with a US aircraft carrier that happened to have some very important foreign officials on board. At the moment, Ethan and Jane were also on said carrier hopefully convincing the Captain not to blow the boathouse-disguised-water-tank to smithereens.

Benji and Brandt, initially granted the task to locate the weapon – Guess what, Ethan? We found it! – discovered the ruse quickly enough and were forced to alter their plans last minute. Things escalated into gun-firing chaos in record speed for the team, then some asshole on the bad guy side panicked and decided to start the self-destruct sequence a bit prematurely. Brandt somehow wound up being outnumbered by at least five guys too many, hence being beaten and shoved into the shark cage – What the hell did they need a shark cage for, anyway? Someone's grenade went off accidentally, which was actually lucky for the two agents because it happened to go off in the middle of most of the goons, after which Benji was able to pick off whoever was left without too much difficulty…

Which brought them back to their current predicament - stuck in a sinking boat-weapon, a bruised and bloodied Brandt trapped in a shark cage, a bunch of busted equipment shooting sparks everywhere – Wonder if I'll get electrocuted before I drown? – and a frantic Benji looking for a switch on a wall that was apparently no longer on the wall.

That's it. Cary is my new arch-nemesis.

A crash sounded from above, followed by a rather unmanly squeak, and Brandt opened his eyes – When did I close them? – to gaze up at Benji dancing away from a fireworks display exploding from some thingamajig that had fallen over.

"I found the relay!" the tech shouted in triumph. "It was right where you said, after all! The console had just slid in front of it!"

"Hoorah," Brandt deadpanned. "Now flip the damn switch. Please."

The water was up to his waist now, and fuck it was cold. It would've been too much to ask to be sinking in the tropics, wouldn't it? Because of course he couldn't at least be somewhat comfortable while he was drowning/being electrocuted/possibly blown up by a missile from the carrier's arsenal, could he? Now he was going to die of hypothermia on top of all that. It was like he was in a goddamn Final Destination movie.

I hate you, Cary.

"Um…Brandt…the switch is…it's blown, man."


"You gotta go, Benj," Brandt sighed, resigning himself to his so-ridiculous-it-was-almost-laughable fate.

Dunn walked back to where Brandt could see him a bit easier. "I'm not leaving you here. Maybe I can rewire it."

"There's not enough time."

"Or maybe I can find something to cut through the bars with?"

"Not enough time…" Huh. Deija-vu.

Benji crossed his arms over his chest. "Well, Mr. Negative Nancy, what do you suggest?"

"I suggest you leave. There's no point in both of us dying down here from…from…explodelectrodrownthermia."

Benji blinked. "What?"


God, he was tired. The water was wrapped around his chest now…kind of like a warm blanket. Maybe if he just closed his eyes again, he'd wake up in his bed and all of this would have just been one crazy work dream. Everyone had crazy work dreams, right? Of course, most people's work wasn't dream-crazy to begin with…

Am I rambling in my head?


He jumped at the hands that were suddenly on his shoulders.

"Holy shit, Benji, when did you learn to teleport?"

"I've been standing here for five minutes trying to snap you out of it! Jesus, man, you scared me! Don't close your eyes again."

Brandt reached his hand through the bars and gripped his friend's shoulder in return. "You should teleport out of here." He choked on the last word as some water managed to flow up into his mouth.

Don't you give me that sad puppy, worried look.

"Brandt, I need you to listen to me very carefully. I found some explosive charges, ones that will blow underwater. I'm going to plant them at the top of some of the bars and hit the detonator when the water gets above the cage. Do you understand?"

It took a little longer than it should have for the information to process in Brandt's concussed, hypothermic brain. "You're going to blow me up?"

…It didn't quite process…

"No, Brandt, I'm blowing up the cage. If I don't do it while the cage is fully submerged, the shockwave and subsequent fire could kill you. I'm trying to keep you alive."

"…Oh. That's good."

A look of utter amazement suddenly crossed Will's face as the water lifted him off the ground.

"Hey, Benji. I'm flying! Nightcrawler and Angel. Those are totally our new code names for this mission."

Benji kept his grip on his friend's shirt as they floated, doing his best to keep Brandt's head above water. Those were pretty cool code names, he had to admit. He'd have to remind Will about them once they got out of this mess. If they got out of this mess.

"Just a little more, Will, and I can reach the top of the bars."

Brandt didn't respond.

"Of all the times…"

Benji readjusted one arm around his friend so he could keep Brandt's face out of the water using the bars as leverage, while still keeping one arm free to set the charges. He'd have to move fast if this was going to work – at least three bars would need to be blown to create a space big enough to slide Brandt through it, and then there were the obvious medical issues to deal with on top of that. The cold was already starting to affect him, and poor Will had been standing in that water quite a bit longer.

"This is it…"

His hand shook as he fumbled with planting the explosives, and he cursed as he nearly dropped one into the water. Once done, he took a deep breath, wished Brandt was awake to do the same, and swam back down to the boat's floor dragging his friend down with him, hoping he wouldn't be the cause of Will's drowning. He reached into his pocket and hit the button on the detonator.

God, please let us live through this…


"…and then he says we should be Nightcrawler and Angel!"

Should've let me drown…

Ethan and Jane laughed as Benji animatedly relayed the "tale of epicness" from his hospital bed across from Brandt's. The man was far too chipper to have nearly died less than forty-eight hours before. Well, not quite. He had definitely suffered some of the effects of hypothermia, and had some nasty cuts, bumps, and bruises from both the fight and trying to drag Brandt's unconscious, half-dead ass to safety, but considering the situation, he was relatively unharmed. He got to go home today. Brandt was stuck for at least another two days.

Stupid concussion.

He caught Benji's eye, who smiled at him with so much damn joy that Will couldn't help but feel a little less perturbed by the whole ordeal. He'd have to remember to thank the tech properly when he got out of the hospital. For now, he felt he had every right to still be grumpy. He hurt, couldn't quite seem to get warm enough, and his friends were all laughing at him. It sucked.

A knock came on the door and all eyes turned to a new visitor.

"Hi, just thought I'd see how your agents were doing."

Pompous, worthless, shit-brained-

"Dick," Benji grumbled, finishing Will's exact thought before suddenly launching a pillow at Cary's head. The man ducked, just barely dodging the soft projectile.

"Hey! I was just trying to-"

Jane stepped forward, arms crossed over her chest.

"Get out of here, Cary, I think you've done enough."

Damn, her voice is cold. Colder than that fucking water.


Ethan shrugged and said somewhat apologetically, "I think you should probably go."

Cary's face turned an interesting shade of red as he backpedaled out the door.

"Did we just declare war on that guy?" Brandt asked.

"No," Ethan sighed.

"Yes," Jane and Benji proclaimed loudly at the same time.

Brandt smiled, suddenly feeling a whole hell of a lot better about his situation, after all.