"There are much easier ways of doing this you know!" Brandt screams into the rock face, clinging to the side of the mountain for dear life.
He's currently dangling some 80 feet in the air from a rope that seems skinner and flimsier the higher they climb, a couple of wimpy metal hooks that can’t possibly be holding his body weight, and one Ethan Hunt a couple of feet to his right looking far too comfortable and who won’t. Stop. Smiling.
“You need to stop being so afraid of heights.” Ethan says, swinging a little on his rope like a kid at a playground.
“It’s not the fucking heights that scare me so much as the falling down and dying part.” Brandt hollers at him, “You know there are gyms where you do this. Tiny little buildings with, like, foam mats on the floor and much, much bigger ropes.”
Ethan laughs – laughs – “You gotta just go for it Brandt.”
“Go for it?” Brandt mutters to himself, closing his eyes as a stiff breeze blows and he hugs tighter to the rock, “Go for it he says. Bet he never did this to Benji. Benji’s not the one jumping into turbines or getting shot at underwater.”
When he opens his eyes Ethan’s scrambled up another 10 feet at least. Goddammit. Still…view’s nice. If he has to die flattened into a human pancake on the forest floor of some jungle in Nowhere, South Africa, there are worst last images than Ethan Hunt’s ass.
“You did it in Dubai, when you jumped out of the window.” Ethan shouts down at him over his shoulder.
“Different circumstances!” Brandt grabs a handhold a foot above his head, then thinks better of it and stays put.
“Oh,” Ethan says and even from this far Brandt hears the mischief in his voice, “like this?”
The words are barely out of his mouth before he’s falling towards Brandt at an alarming rate, hands above his head as he slides down his rope.
Brandt doesn’t even think twice as he pushes off from the rock wall, both hands abandoning the relatively stable handholds and grabbing his tether, swinging around to frantically grab at Ethan as he zips by.
He wraps a hand around Ethan’s bicep and plants his feet against the rock, and they sway wildly on their ropes, knocking into each other.
When the adrenaline stops fueling his nerves he’s got two hands on Ethan’s arms, he’s panting wildly and staring wide-eyed at Ethan, who’s still smiling. Hell, he’s fucking laughing.
Go for it rings through his head, in Ethan’s voice, and Ethan grins at him with those white teeth and his eyes sparkling with amusement, and Brandt decides to take that advice.
Kissing your sort-of partner/sort-of boss for the first time is not as scary as jumping out of a window of the tallest building in the world, but it comes fairly close – add the whole “dangling precariously by two thin ropes” thing to that and you’re looking at a pretty dangerous situation.
Luckily for Brandt’s stress level it takes all of a second for Ethan to respond in kind, kissing back so forcefully that Brandt has to scramble to find a handhold to keep them anchored.
And that’s how Brandt ends up making out with Ethan Hunt, 10 stories up a fucking mountain in South Africa.