But she just smiled and turned away.
William Brandt went home and cried. He cried and laughed, he threw his lamp across his room, he shook on his bed. When he was done with all of it, he stared at the ceiling. He was flooded with emptiness. He thought about calling Ethan, to ask him again, "Even if you tricked me, can I still be forgiven?"
His chest ached and it was like his heart was handed back to him. Two days ago, a Russian scientist lost his family and William Brandt found one. It was an unequal trade, for watching the man's life bleed out of him in his hands, like watching Ethan carted away for murder, like Moreau's scream ringing in his ears.
It wasn't fair, Will thought vengefully, to suddenly hand his life back to him like it meant something. What the fuck was he supposed to do with it now?
Who was he supposed to be now?
The Secretary's funeral wasn't really the Secretary's funeral. His cover was a secretary for an ambassador in Peru. He died of a heart attack. Will knew the story by heart. He helped write it, forged the documents and sealed it with a proud handshake.
His hands are shaking now.
James Brad was a valued member of our community...
"Remember this day, Brandt," The Secretary told him, his gaze warm, "It's the day we salvaged you."
... He cared for his family and friends, always finding time to contact them...
They drank, as they watched Ethan was introduced to Russian prison.
And he was, above all, a good man.
"You're strong now," The Secretary said, leading him to the car. His hand was so cold that Will shivered, "You're strong enough to do this for me. Please."
He cried. It was his cover.
Will palmed the phone in his hand. It was his personal link to Ethan Hunt, to their team. Even as he resumed his duties as senior analyst, it dug into his pocket like a visible weight, tearing him away from his "salvaged" life that the Secretary was so proud of.
(and no one can deny the deep, warm pride that picked him up and dusted him off. Ethan Hunt was a legend, but William Brandt was a diamond. His edges never dimmed and his skills never end)
Benji called him once (to offer him a chance to join his WoW guild). Jane called, her beautifully somber voice dutifully concerned over him. It lulled him to the ocean and back (and he understood what Holloway saw in her and what she saw in him and both truths made him drink more). But Ethan never called.
Ethan never called.
He doesn't dream of stepping over Julia's dead body, the blood caking his shoes. He doesn't dream of numbers and faces floating in sleep, their reprimands turning into more paperwork. He dreamed of Ethan turning his back on him.
He woke up. He still can't tell them apart.
Ethan appeared in his house instead.
Will nearly shot him (he missed because his favourite plant was in the way)
"It's nice to see you too," Ethan said casually (asshole)
"What, you can't call?" He blurted out and cursed himself. William Brandt. Spy, indeed.
"I didn't feel like it," Ethan continued on, as if he was unaware (he wasn't. asshole!), "Besides, you were busy with the Secretary's death and all, it seemed like a bad time."
"It was a bad time for you too," Will said, sharp, "He was--,"
"Great. I know. Good cover story, by the way."
Wil's teeth sank into his throat, his own reprimand.
"I thought you might want to get out. Go rock climbing."
Ethan gave him that infallible white grin, "Sure. I could use a partner."
"I don't do rock climbing." Even if he had the clothes for it. Somewhere.
"Come anyway. Loosen up. Is that a frown line?" With that, he strode out.
"It's a tan line, asshole!"
The door closed with a sarcastic click and he couldn't help it. He laughed.
He has his life back. Who knew?