Audrey had just gotten dressed from the shower as she dried her hair with a towel, leaving the dark strands stringy with dampness. She glanced at the rest of the Horsemen—Merritt was lounging on the couch with a book on his chest, Jack was toying boredly with his cards, Danny was sitting at the bar by the window, and Henley was pulling her luggage from her rented bedroom.
Suddenly the door burst open, and a crowd of FBI agents pointed their weapons at them, ordering them to stand down, or in Merritt's case, drop the book.
Henley smiled at them after a dramatic gasp. "Oh my! Do one of you guys mind giving us a hand with our bags?"
Only a few minutes later, the Five Horsemen were being escorted through the casino by the FBI agents, who also toted their luggage. The crowd of bystanders in the casino cheered and applauded the magicians.
Audrey smiled and rolled her eyes, amused by Jack's taunting expression and Danny's expression that was similarly smartass.
Special Agent Dylan Rhodes walked into Agent Evans's office. "Boss, please tell me this is a joke. I just got Willy Mears to finger Paulie Attanasio. I'm a month, two tops, away from blowing this whole thing open."
Fuller pushed to his feet and walked out of his office, and Rhodes followed, still trying to get off this crazy magic case. "Get Turkelson."
"He's in Atlantic City," Evans said simply.
"What about Cowen?" Rhodes tried again. "Look at him. He's just sitting there on his ass."
Cowan glared up at Rhodes as he followed Evans to a conference room. "Hilarious, Rhodes."
Rhodes turned to look at him just before he walked through the door frame, and he growled sarcastically, "I love you."
"Asshole," Cowan grumbled as Rhodes disappeared through the door.
Rhodes went back to complaining to Evans. "I don't have time for this magic crap."
Evans looked at him. "This crap just pulled three million euros out of a Parisian bank."
Rhodes raised an eyebrow in shock. "That's how much they got?"
A young blonde woman in a blazer turned to look at Rhodes and Fuller. "Actually, three-point-two," she corrected with a thick French accent.
"Who's she?" Rhodes asked Evans in a mumble, and then he turned to her and spoke in a normal tone. "Who are you?"
"Alma Dray," she introduced, "from Interpol."
Rhodes groaned again. "You've gotta be kidding me. It's bad enough they got me chasing David Copperfield and friends. Now I'm being saddled with—no offense—Interpol?"
Alma seemed unfazed. "I look forward to working with you, too, Agent Rhodes."
Rhodes looked at her exasperatedly. "I'm sorry. I don't think I'm going to need your help on this. Okay?" He turned back toward Evans. "Where's the French guy?"
"I already spoke to him," Alma interrupted.
"Oh, you did?" Rhodes snapped. "You spoke to my witness before me?"
"Your witness?" Alma argued, though she didn't raise her voice. "I thought you didn't want the case? Besides, he's useless."
"Oh, really?" Rhodes asked in a mockingly ignorant tone. "Why is that?"
"Because he believes their magic was real."
"Oh, he believes the magic was real?" Rhodes repeated, again, in a mocking tone. "You're right, he probably is useless. Is it okay with Interpol if we talk to him, too?"
"MmHmm," Alma hummed calmly.
"Thank you," Rhodes snapped one more time before walking to interrogation.
"I have never stolen a thing in my life," Etienne swore as he sat on the suspect side of the table. "I tried to give the money back, but they won't take it."
"Okay, okay, okay," Rhodes said calmly. "Let's just say you robbed a bank."
"Fine. Fantastic. You did." Rhodes leaned over on the table. "But since I'm new to this, can you explain to me how you went from Las Vegas to Paris in three seconds?"
"With the teleportation helmet," Etienne said with full conviction.
"Okay," Rhodes said as he shoved up from the table. "What the hell is going on here?"
"He was hypnotized during the show," Alma explained simply. "I told you, he's useless."
Rhodes whirled on her. "Okay, I'll deal with you when I'm done with this other bullshit."
Etienne suddenly rose to his feet and climbed on the table, acting as though he were playing second string violin in a symphony.
"Hey!" Rhodes complained.
"During the show, half the audience was hypnotized to believe they were in the Philharmonic," Fuller explained. "I guess that 'bullshit' was the trigger word."
"Okay," Rhodes said in a growing tone of exasperation. "Hey, hey. Coutez. Etienne, come on down from there. You're not in the Philharmonic." He looked at Alma. "How do you say 'stop' in French?"
"Stop," she said simply.
"Tell him to stop," Rhodes tried again.
"No, I can't," Alma said with a shrug of her crossed arms. "You just have to let him finish his movement."
Rhodes was almost purple with frustration. "Okay, I need a timeout. Too many French people in one room." He marched from the interrogation room, and Alma followed him.
"Huh?" He asked as he turned back toward her.
"I'm ordered by my bosses to have a report," Alma informed him sharply. "And until we have one, I'm here, like it or not."
Rhodes was looking in the other interrogation rooms, passing Henley first as Alma kept talking.
"So we can work together, or you can continue to follow behind asking the same exact questions I'm asking. It's up to you."
Rhodes looked in an interrogation room and frowned when he saw Jack snoring in the chair. "Hmmm."
"I'm not finished," Alma snapped as they stopped in front of the room with Merritt in it. "I just flew twelve hours after what was already a long day. And I do not handle jet lag well. So if you want to see who can be grumpier, I promise you, you will lose."
"Hmmm," Rhodes hummed again. "MmHmm, fine. Who do you want to talk to first? Him?" He pointed to Merritt through the one-way window, as Merritt looked right back at them like the glass wasn't even there. That made Rhodes a little uneasy.
"Dylan, for the record," Fuller started almost anxiously. "Mentalism has never actually been proven to be accurate."
Rhodes wasn't really affected by the statement. "Okay."
"That is to say," Fuller continued, "that it's not a science. It's more for entertainment."
"Alright." Rhodes was starting to wonder what had Fuller so shaken.
"Just don't believe anything the guys says. That's all."
Rhodes nodded before he slid inside.
They sat across the table from a comfortably lounging Merritt McKinney.
"Please convey my deepest apologies to your colleague out there," Merritt said, his tone serious despite the obvious underlying amusement. "I'm really sorry about this whole Tranny Tuesday thing. I was out of line."
"Tranny Tuesday?" Rhodes asked in confusion.
"Well," Merritt started to explain. "It's an arrangement that he and his wife have. Or might not have, depending on if you believe everything Agent Fuller is saying to be correct. But isn't it a proud tradition in the FBI of men wearing dresses?" He looked over to the one-way window, where he figured Fuller was watching. "No shame, Agent Fuller. No shame."
He added a flourishing snap on the end of his statement before looking back to Rhodes and Alma with a chuckle. "I'm just having fun."
They walked to look in the next one-way window, and Rhodes froze. "Oh my God," he whispered in shock, eyes going wide at the woman in the room.
"What?" Alma asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Nothing," Rhodes said quickly, recovering his composure. "Who is she?" He knew exactly who she was.
"Audrey Shrike," Alma answered, shaking her head slightly at the sudden change in his expression. He was hiding something, but she wasn't going to press. At least not right now. "She's their stage manager—their so-called Fifth Horseman. She's a magician too. Looks like she specializes in escape artistry and sleight of hand."
Rhodes muttered something under his breath that the Interpol agent was sure wasn't very polite. "Alright," he addressed her aloud. "I'm going in there alone."
"What?" Alma almost demanded. "No! This is my investigation too."
"I know," he said, obviously trying his hardest to stay composed. "But, like you said, she's an escape artist. I need you at the door just in case she tries to pull something."
"She hasn't yet."
"She's a showman," Rhodes pointed out. "What's the point in pulling off a trick if there's no one there to see it?"
They looked at the one-way mirror just in time to watch Audrey snap one of the cuffs free from her wrist, look at it for a moment, and clip it back on all while swinging the chain like a jump rope.
Alma's lips squeezed into a thin line. She didn't like it, but he had a point. "Fine. I'll guard the door."
"Thank you," Rhodes said, letting out an exasperated breath as he opened the door.
Audrey looked up as he entered, smirking slightly at the sight of the FBI agent that just entered. They had to be joking. "Well, don't you look familiar, Agent… Rhodes, is it?"
Rhodes didn't say anything as he sat across from her at the table, looking unimpressed.
She raised an eyebrow. "So, um, why am I here again?"
Rhodes rolled his eyes. "You robbed a bank."
Audrey feigned a shocked expression. "Did I? I don't recall. I certainly wasn't part of the act, which is what it was."
"Someone snagged three million euros from a Parisian bank, the same bank mentioned in the show you manage, the same bank where you and your fellow Horsemen 'teleported' Etienne Forcier in the middle of your show, which the witness is convinced is one-hundred-percent real."
Audrey smirked, looking at Rhodes with a steady hazel gaze. "How magical."
He leaned forward, dropping his voice to a level that Alma couldn't hear from outside the door. "Audrey, I don't care how old you are. One more smart-ass remark and I will ground you."
She laughed, shaking her head. "Isn't that just called arresting at this point? You don't have any evidence to use against any of the Horsemen, especially not me." Her voice dropped as she leaned forward, smirking again. "Isn't that right, Dad?"
"You robbed a bank!" His voice was no longer the low tone that it had been.
"Really?" She asked in an innocent tone. "What does your witness say about that? Can he prove it? Is that the evidence you have? If it is, that's all you have on us."
He growled in frustration. "I know you were there. You set up the whole show."
She raised both eyebrows, her voice dropping again. "Well, that's an odd thing to know. Especially since we haven't seen each other in… four years?"
Rhodes shook his head, his tone matching hers again. "Old habits, Audrey. You set up all your own tricks too."
She smiled. "Like this one?" She lifted her hand, swinging the chain for the cuffs on one finger. The cuffs that were no longer around her wrists.
"Put those back on," Rhodes ordered sharply.
"Don't make me cuff you myself."
"Testy, testy," Audrey tsked, shaking her head and smirking again. "Relax, old man, I'm not going anywhere. If I did, you'd have a real reason to arrest me, and that might make Christmas a little awkward. Besides, I just saved you some extra effort later, since you don't have any evidence that can actually hold any of us here."
He was about to speak again when he was interrupted by Alma opening the door and letting another agent in. "She's free to go."
"What?!" Rhodes demanded. "How is that even possible?"
"Take it up with Evans," the agent replied, shaking his head.
Audrey stood up with a smile. "I had a nice time catching up," she said quietly, striding out of the room with such a bounce in her step she was almost skipping.
As all five Horsemen exited the building, Rhodes rushed over to Evans. "Boss, what are we doing? We're letting them go? They all but admitted they're going to do it again."
"Half an hour ago you didn't give a damn about them," Evans started, looking at Rhodes almost curiously. "What changed?"
"I met them."
"Hey. Guys," Fuller called, jogging over and holding some papers. "Hey, I ran a check on the audience. Most of it was just filler people that Tressier dragged in to pack the room. But guess who was sitting there in the back, filming the whole damn thing?
"I don't know," Rhodes said shortly.
Rhodes looked at him blankly.
"Thaddeus Bradley," Fuller tried again, "the guy from TV with the DVDs and shows?"
"No." Rhodes still didn't have a clue.
"Okay, well, he debunks magicians. He exposes them. He shows you how to do their tricks."
That held Rhodes's attention. "Get him on the phone."
"I did. You're having lunch with him in 45."