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Down Time

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It's 11:01 and a burgeoning caffeine headache urges Brandt out of bed.

He starts the half-pint coffee machine, brews up a weak cup with water from the bathroom sink.

Ethan's a dark line on the sheets in the bedroom. Hair spilled out on the pillowcase, face slack and soft, turned away from the half opened blinds.

Outside a storms tries to get going, right now only hard rain and the distant threat of thunder. Below the window stretches green canopy on either sides of a watery inlet.

Brandt hesitates at the foot of the bed, cup in hand. Ethan's arm curls over where Brandt used to lay.

He sighs and pulls up a chair to the window instead, afraid of disturbing Ethan's meager peace.

He puts his chin in his hand and stares outside. If he clears his head he can imagine he doesn't know where they are, can pretend they're a whole world away and there's no where to be, no one to fight for, or against, and nothing to do but sleep in and listen to the rain.

"Another six hours before Benji calls." Ethan's voice drifts over and Brandt looks and finds him peering out from the bed, dwarfed among too fluffy pillows and the oversize comforter.

Brandt ducks his head, sips his coffee. "Yeah, yeah."

A roll of thunder grabs their attentions, the rain falls harder in sheets and the window becomes a wall of gray, bits of blue and green blurred behind.

"Six hours, plenty of time to go back to bed." Ethan tries again, encouraging smile on his lips as he props himself up on an elbow, hair falling in his face.

"We should get the tech ready, go over Tran's files again," The luxury of time is rare for them, so many missions end up being grab and dash, pray for the best.

Ethan doesn't roll his eyes, though Brandt reads it in the way he flops back down on the bed. "Have fun with that." He says.

Brandt makes it to the count of three - the analyst fights the agent fights the man - before he's out of the chair, crossing to the bed. Ethan's smile is triumphant and sleepy as Brandt pulls the sheets back.

Another boom of thunder as Brandt kisses him, tangles fingers in his hair. A crack of lighting as Ethan wraps limp arms around him, makes a soft noise and settles back down to sleep.

Brandt watches the rain fall ove the curve of his shoulder.


"Shh, shush!" Benji hisses as he dashes into the room, popcorn spilling from the hotel's ice bucket. He plops down on the second bed next to where Jane's made herself comfortable, shoes kicked off, three pillows propping her up against the headboard.

"What, are we not allowed to talk through the whole thing?" Brandt asks from the other bed, down to his undershirt and sweatpants. Ethan's laid out next to him, half asleep with Brandt's hand on his chest.

Benji glares over at him, "No. Absolutely not. This isn't due out for another two weeks, anywhere. I had to pull some favors just to get it."

He twists, Jane darting forward and grabbing the makeshift popcorn bucket before it upends itself all over the bed. "And you couldn't just wait those two weeks because...?"

"It's the Avengers!" Benji practically squeals, giving the rest of the team an expectant look. His face falls when he gets dull stares in return.

"It's like, the biggest film...ever! All the Marvel films have been leading up to it?" When he still doesn't get a response he gives a giant huff and starts fiddling with the laptop that's hooked up with wires to the TV.

"Alright, you're all daft, we're going to have to start at the beginning. Now, most people ignore the first Hulk movie but I-"

Brandt and Jane make twin noises of frustration. "Benji!" Ethan says, peering over at him around Brandt's elbow, "play the film. Or I will come over there."

Benji considers for a second then decides that he can live with skipping the other films instead of further annoying Ethan. He queues up the movie and settles onto the bed with his legs crossed, hand full of popcorn, looking like a kid.

Ethan's laughing at Benji's display of immature glee when Brandt turns back to him, smiling down at Ethan with heavy lids. In the background the music starts and the lights go out, the light of the TV painting them in LCD.

Brandt's curling a hand around Ethan's hip, pulling him in for a tongue filled kiss, Ethan hitching up his leg and suddenly Benji's voice explodes from across the room.

"Hey!" a hail of popcorn rains down on them, Jane's giggling helplessly, "No talking and definitely no making out!"

Brandt pulls away and flops down on the bed with an annoyed groan, glaring at Benji, Benji glaring back. Ethan snorts and starts pulling himself to a sitting position, collecting a handful of popcorn from Brandt's hair and popping a few in his mouth.

"Brandt, that guy looks just like you." Jane says.


There's no one else around so Brandt doesn't feel too embarassed at the completely wanton noise he makes as he steps under the spray of the shower. It's just this side of boiling, turned up as high as the dial will allow and at first it stings against sore muscles and bruises but settles into a sweet, dull roar of comfort that spreads through his tired body.

He can't remember the last time he didn't feel like he'd been banging around in a blender on a consistant basis. Even now, two days after the last mission ended he feels like a tenderized piece of meat. He's exhausted from traveling, a whole day stuffed onto a 747, bumped back to coach, stuck between a guy who used his shoulder as a pillow the whole way and an overly anxious young business woman who he politely, and stupidly, gave up his tray table to so she could spread out the entire contexts of her briefcase. 17 hours balancing his soda and peanuts in one hand and juggling a drooling stranger in the other.

Steam mists up after a minute and Brandt pulls himself away from where he's slumped against the tile wall, feigns at scrubbing off the stale feeling of processed airplane air and the humidty outside. On a mission he can go from grimy and dirt covered to fresh and clean in a half-minute if he has to, now he's got all the time in the world and he feels sluggish and lazy.

Until the door opens. There's no actual noise as the handle turns but Brandt can feel the shift in the air, the air the sound of the shower changes just slightly. He wonders if the person realizes that as quiet as he is, he's still after an agent of the IMF.

Then again he is naked, unawares and without a gun, so there's that. A cursory glance of the shower gives him nothing new to work with, unless he can somehow make a hotel bottle of shampoo into a deadly weapon. The guy's being slow, probably thinks he's still undetected, it's buying Brandt some time. He gives up figuring out the shampoo and settles on that he's going to have to fight this out bare handed and without clothes. The whole soping wet thing won't be pleasant either. He could probably use the curtain to blind the guy, pull it over him, wrap it around the gun, or the wire, or the knife...

But a whole 20 seconds pass and nothing happens. He was expecting Psycho, but he's getting nothing, the din of the shower the only noise. He relaxes out of his stance immediately, laughs.

"Are you going to join me or just lurk out there?" He yanks back the corner of the curtain and finds Ethan propped up on the sink with a cocky grin on his face.

"You could be dead right now." He says, leaning back against the mirror, legs spread, hands in his lap.

"Hey, I had this sweet move planned with the shampoo, I would've been fine."

Ethan chuckles, leans his head back and closes his eyes. He looks as weary as Brandt feels.

"So?" Brandt says, just loud enough to be heard. Ethan opens one eye and Brandt cocks his head toward the shower.

"Yeah, just a minute." Ethan mumbles, bracing his hands on the edge of the sink, then giving up halfway before actually hoisting himself down.

Brandt gives a fond sigh, reaches over and turns off the water. He steps over the edge of the tub, dripping wet on the bare tiled floor.

He sidles up to Ethan, puts one hand on either of his thighs, water pooling at his feet. Ethan opens his eyes under heavy lids, smile playing around his mouth. Brandt thinks of all the ways he can get him naked as soon as possible.

"Just get in?"

"Mmmhmm," and Ethan tilts his head side to side, working out the kinks. He moves his hands to Brandt's hips, pulls him into the V of his legs, eyes taking him in slowly.

Brandt presses wet hands against the sides of his chest, watches the gray cotton turn dark under his palms. He finally captures Ethan's mouth in a slow kiss, Ethan's legs winding around his own, denim rubbing against bare skin.

He catches their reflection behind Ethan, the mirror steamed up, the two of them moving like blurred ghosts, moving backwards. He reaches up and smears his hand across the glass and they come into focus suddenly, Ethan's dark hair sticking to the mirror, his shoulders pressing up against the fog.

Ethan makes a helpless noise, something Brandt knows only he gets to hear, when Brandt hitches him up higher on the sink, his legs going around Brandt's hips, hands scrambling for purchase against wet skin. Brandt laughs at the advantage Ethan denied him earlier, warm breath between their lips.

"This is nice and all," he says, "but I haven't fucked you in a shower yet."