FIXED! So check this out - I went out and looked at the fuseblock - and the one marked STOP - as you recommended didn't have a fuse in it - which is why I missed it before (as to why, I have NO idea). However, I did notice that it's melted a bit around that fuse - so I'm going to need to get that checked out. Popped a 15a fuse in and voila! My brake lights are working again.
I have NO earthly idea where the fuse went or why it clearly shows some melting - I know my mechanic mentioned it about a month ago but said it didn't appear to have any obvious shorts - maybe it's been out that long... weird.
But it's fixed now. Probably need to replace the block just to be proactive. I'm sure it happened before I bought it a few years ago.