The Crime of the Century
Disclaimer: Do NOT own White Collar
Thanks for all your reviews! And your patience! I am trying to wrap up this story as quick as I can. I am thinking about another 5-6 chapters to finish the story out…I will try to get it done as soon as I can!
Chapter 14: Everyone Has A Plan….
"Have I mentioned this is a bad idea?" asked Mozzie.
"About eight times," said Neal
"He also said it three more times while you were in the bathroom," said June.
Neal sighed and shook his head, "Moz…"
"No, don't start," said Mozzie. "This is a bad idea. No-I take that back-this a horrific and completely suicidal idea."
"We've gone up against Damon before," said Neal.
"Yeah," said Mozzie sarcastically, "And look how well that turned out."
The moment Mozzie said it, he regretted it. Neal hung his head. There was a moment of tension.
"Don't you understand, Moz?" said Neal. "Damon is a killer! And he's going to keep killing and hurt people! He's not going to stop once he steals the chest-there is no last score for him Moz!"
"He's a psycho-path!" said Mozzie. "He's going to kill you!"
"HE KILLED MY FATHER!" shouted Neal.
"And my uncle!" shouted Mozzie. "Damon killed my family too Neal! I want him behind bars more than anything! But I'm not going to risk losing another member of my family!"
"Moz…" said Neal softly
"How long have we known each other, Neal?" asked Mozzie. "How long have we been friends? How could you not think about that?"
"I'm sorry," said Neal. "It's just-this is all my fault."
"Neal, it's not your fault," said Mozzie. "What happened to your dad or Uncle Lawrence-"
"But it is!" said Neal. "I knew all along from when I first meet Damon, I knew what Damon was and I didn't stop him."
"You were just a kid Neal," said Mozzie.
"That's no excuse," said Neal. "I just feel like I should have done something. All the people Damon's hurt-it's all my fault…."
Neal collapsed on the couch. June sat down next to him. "Neal Caffrey, in the time I've known you, I've never known you to be a violent person."
"He's not," agreed Mozzie. "I've known Neal Caffrey for over ten years and I've never known him to hurt a fly."
"Then how can you say that what Damon's done is your fault?" asked June softly.
"Because I'm responsible," said Neal. "I should have stopped him; not just when I was a kid but ten years ago—"
"Neal Douglas Caffrey you listen to me," said June. "What happened is NOT your fault. You cannot control what others do and you cannot be held responsible for the actions of anyone other than yourself."
"No buts," said June. "You cannot undo the past; you can only move forward into the future. Nor you can you chose the path of others. You can only make your own path." June sighed, "Damon has chose his path. Now, you have to choose yours."
Neal smiled softly, "How do you always know what to say?"
"I'm a mother," said June. "It comes with the territory."
Neal sighed, "I've made lots of mistakes in my life. I've put my faith in the wrong people; done bad things."
"We all make mistakes," said June. "But they don't have to define you."
Neal sighed. He looked up at Mozzie. "I have to do this."
Mozzie sighed, "I know."
"You don't have to come," said Neal.
"Are you kidding?" said Mozzie. "And miss a chance to nail Damon and kick him in the teeth? Where do I sign up?"
"Thanks Moz," said Neal, smiling.
"Yeah well," said Mozzie, shrugging it off. "I still say this is a bad idea."
"Duly noted," said Neal.
"Of course if Damon catches us, he'll most likely kill us," said Mozzie. "And if the Suit catches us, he'll send us to jail."
"Do you really think I'd let either of you go to jail?" said Elizabeth as she walked into the room.
"Aw Mrs. Suit," said Mozzie, "Have you managed to figure out how to get us out of this fortress and past the forty FBI agents that are outside?"
"Of course I do," said Elizabeth. "I have a plan."
"Geez where have I heard that before?" sighed Mozzie.
"Who's in charge here?" demanded Peter as he walked up to the front desk of the museum.
"That would be me." A tall man dressed in an Italian suit came walking up to Peter. "Miles Daniels. I'm the curator of this museum. And you would be?"
"Agent Peter Burke, FBI," said Peter. "This is Agent Clinton Jones and Lauren Cruz."
"What can I do for you, Agent?" asked Daniels.
"Do you have this?" asked Peter. He pulled out a picture of the chest and showed it to Daniels.
"Why yes," said Daniels. "I do believe that we did acquire this piece in our new collection."
"We think someone is going to try to steal it," said Peter.
Miles Daniels laughed. "Am I being punked?"
"I am not joking about this," said Peter. "We have evidence that a thief is going to steal the chest."
"That chest?" repeated Daniels. "Are you sure about this?"
"Very," said Jones.
Daniels paled, "I can assure you Agent Burke, we have the best security-"
"I am sure you do," said Peter shortly. "But we need to discuss how to better enhance your security system so we catch your thief and you don't lose your chest."
"Of course," said Daniels. "Right this way."
"So tell me Mrs. Suit," said Mozzie. "How do you plan to get us out of the house without the FBI agents knowing?"
"Simple," said Elizabeth. "We don't leave the house by any of the doors or windows."
Neal and Mozzie stopped in their tracks. "So, we're supposed to teleport ourselves out of here?" asked Mozzie.
Elizabeth laughed. She opened the door to the basement and started walking downstairs. "I told Agent Muller that I was giving Neal some pain medication."
"Which means I would be asleep for the rest of the night," said Neal, "giving me the perfect alibi if Peter calls."
Elizabeth nodded, "Then after the stressful couple of days and lack of sleep the three of us have had," she added. "I told them that I would be taking a sleeping pill to calm my nerves and get some sleep. I may have suggested that June and Mozzie may do so as well."
"Okay, so that explains why you borrowed my CD of whale songs," said Mozzie. "But that still doesn't explain how we are getting out of here."
Elizabeth smiled, "This is our way out." She reached the bottom stair and flicked on the light.
"Aw the basement," said Neal. "All good escape plans start in the basement…no wait—that all good torture chambers start in the basement."
Elizabeth punched him gently in the arm. Neal gasped. "Ouch!"
"Are you okay?" asked Elizabeth and June together.
"I knew it!" said Mozzie. "That right there is a bad omen!"
"Relax Moz," said Neal, "it's just a small bruise. I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" asked June.
Neal nodded, "Never felt better."
Elizabeth sighed, "You don't have to do this Neal."
Neal stiffened his resolve. "Yes I do." He smiled his classic Neal Caffrey smile. "So Lizzie, are you going to tell us how we are going to get out of the magical basement."
"Stop calling me Lizzie!" said Elizabeth. She walked over to the corner and started moving some boxes around."
"So what are we going to do?" asked Mozzie, "Tunnel out of here?"
Elizabeth moved the last box aside, revealing a large section of the wall. She grabbed one of the tiles and pulled it out. Instead of seeing cement, the group felt a cold breeze through the room and the smell of dirt filled the air.
Elizabeth turned to them, smiling, "Something like that."
Mozzie let out a low whistle, "Mrs. Suit, I'm impressed."
"Why thank you Mozzie," said Elizabeth. She grabbed a flashlight and tossed it to Mozzie who caught it. He turned it on and stepped into the tunnel with June right on his heels.
Neal walked forward, examining the tunnel, "Does Peter know about this?"
Elizabeth blushed, "No." She handed Neal a flashlight. He turned it on and stepped into the tunnel. Elizabeth followed, grabbing hold of the board and putting it back in place, hiding the entrance to the tunnel.
"Where you ever planning on telling him?" asked Neal.
Elizabeth shrugged her shoulders. "Do you really think he would have let this stay open? I always figured it come in handy someday."
"When is it from?" asked June.
"The realtor said it was part of the Underground Railroad," said Elizabeth.
"Any idea where it leads?" said Mozzie as the tunnel slopped downward.
"It comes out somewhere around the warehouse district," said Elizabeth.
"You been down here before?" asked Neal.
"Once when Peter was on a stakeout," said Elizabeth, "I explored the tunnel to figure out where it leads. I figured if I was running for my life, I'd better know where I was going."
"And once we get out of the tunnel?" asked June.
"That part I haven't quite figured out yet," said Elizabeth softly.
"Actually, that works," said Mozzie. When the other three turned to look him as well, "I may have one of my 'safe houses' in the warehouse district."
"Where in New York don't you have a safe house, Moz?" asked Neal.
"I like to think like a boy scout," said Mozzie. "Be prepared."
"You were never a boy scout," said Neal.
"Minor detail," said Mozzie, waving his hand.
Neal rolled his eyes, and shook his head softly.
"Oh you're one to talk," said Mozzie. "You just burst into a situation and just improvise and charm your way out of it."
"I'm still alive, aren't I?" asked Neal.
"Have you looked in the mirror lately?" asked Mozzie.
"Um guys?" said Elizabeth, "I hate to break up this brotherly moment but would you mind paying attention? Because I think if I remember correctly, we're coming to—"
Mozzie took a step forward, stepping on a small rock that pushed down into the ground. The tunnel shook and the wooden door underneath them opened up. They were suspended for a moment in the air before gravity took over and they fell into the abyss.
Peter rubbed his hand across his face, "Mr. Daniels-try to be reasonable-"
"Do you understanding what you are asking, Agent Burke?" asked Daniels. "Cancel our biggest fundraiser of the year? Are you insane?"
"No! We have been working on this fundraiser for six months!" said Daniels. "This is a largest fundraiser of the year! And you wants us to cancel? All because of some tip?"
"Mr. Daniels," said Lauren, "I can sure that the tip is creditable. We have reason to believe that your museum is going to be robbed."
"Some thief is going to break into your museum, by pass all the jewelry and other priceless pieces to steal some old chest?" asked Daniels. He clucked at his own little chest, "I may not know much about criminality, agents but I find it hard to believe that one thief is going to pass up all the other valuables here to steal an old worthless chest!"
"Have you opened the chest?" asked Peter.
"What?" asked Daniels.
"Have you opened the chest?" repeated Peter. "How do you know that there isn't something valuable inside the chest if you've never opened it?"
Daniel scoffed, "That's crazy. The chest does not open."
"Which means that you can't open it," said Peter.
Daniels paused, "We are afraid that by trying to open the chest, we could cause damage to the chest that would destroy the historical value."
Peter pulled out a picture of the chest, "This is the chest in question. And you can see that there is a lock that requires a key to open the chest."
Daniels look at the picture, "Why yes, Agent Burke. I believe you are right. But no doubt that the key that opens the chest is lost somewhere in the English countryside."
"We have reasonable belief that the thief has acquired the key," said Jones.
"Of course," said Daniels. "That makes perfect sense. This 'thief' happened to find this key somewhere in the English countryside, believes it will unlock the chest and is planning to break into this museum during our biggest event of the year to steal a worthless chest."
Peter was ready to reach across the table and strangle this guy.
"Yes," said Jones.
Daniels laughed. "You must be joking!"
"I assure you sir, I am not," growled Peter.
The smiled faded. "I appreciate your concern, but I cannot cancel our biggest event. The board of directors would have my head."
"Understandable," said Lauren. "How about a compromise? What if you still have the event but remove the chest from display?"
"Out of the question!" said Daniels. "The chest is an important part of the display!"
"I thought you said it wasn't valuable?" said Peter.
"It's not," said Daniels quickly. "Not by itself anyway. But the chest is an important part of our new collections-which we are debuting at our fundraiser…."
"Then at least allow us to have a FBI presence at the fundraiser," said Jones.
"I can't allow that," said Daniels. "Our beneficiaries-they are very important people who want to protect their privacy."
More like criminals not wanting an FBI investigation…..
"I assure you Agent Burke, we will increase security," said Daniels, "And do a complete inventory before and after the event."
"Thank you so much for your time, Mr. Daniels," said Lauren quickly. She handed him her card, "If you change your mind, give us a call."
She and Jones then ushered Peter out the door.
"He's hiding something," said Peter.
"Of course he is," said Lauren, "but pissing him off isn't going to give us access."
Peter shook his head, "We can't let Damon get away. Not this time."
"We won't," said Jones, "We'll set a primer around the museum, put up surveillance and wherever Miles Daniels likes it or not, we will have uncovers at that party." He patted Peter on the back, "Don't worry Peter, we have a plan."
Barely five minutes after Peter, Jones and Lauren left the museum, Damon's phone rang.
"Sir? The FBI was here. They know about the chest."
Damon laughed. "That doesn't surprise me."
"What should we do?"
"Nothing," said Damon. He smiled, "Everything is going to plan."
"You couldn't have warned us about that, huh?" asked Mozzie.
"I tried," said Elizabeth. She rubbed her hair dry with the towel. "But you both were too busy listening to me."
"You could have mentioned that the wood in the tunnel was rotten," said Mozzie.
"I didn't know it would cave under our weight," said Elizabeth. "Or that it would dump us into the East River."
Neal walked into the room, wearing a pair of gray sweatpants and a sweatshirt with a towel hanging around his neck. He smiled at the sound of the two bickering.
The wood flooring in the tunnel had become rotten and when the group stepped on it, the wood caved. They probably would have died if not the East River hadn't cushioned their fall.
"Relax Moz," said Neal. "A dip in the river is refreshing every now and then."
"Yeah because swimming in polluted water is refreshing," said Mozzie sarcastically.
"I think that the important thing," said June, "is that we all are safe and that we landed not far from another one of Mozzie's safe houses."
"I'm beginning to think you have more of these than Starbucks," said Neal.
Mozzie smiled, "Starbucks doesn't have this." He turned on the light and revealed the long table with a blue print.
"Is that the museum?" asked Elizabeth. Mozzie nodded.
"And you just happen to have a blue print of the museum?" asked Elizabeth.
"Yes," said Mozzie. "I have a lot of things stashed away in my safe houses. But that's not the point. The point is we need to come up with a plan."
Neal nodded. He, June and Elizabeth gathered around the table as well.
"Now I reviewed the museum's website," said Mozzie. "And it turns out there are having their big benefit tonight in which they will debut all the new pieces including Robin Hood's chest."
"Can we sneak in as guest?" asked June.
"Not likely," said Neal. "Remember, it's not only Damon we have to get past but the FBI as well. The first thing Peter would have done is notify the museum to warn them of the possible theft. They will most likely be watch the doors and the guest, not to mention they will most likely have people inside." He pointed to the areas on the map.
"So you think Damon will break in at night?" asked Elizabeth
Neal shook his head, "Damon wants the glamor. That's his narcissist personality kicking in. No, he'll definitely use the diner to get in. Our best bet of getting is with the staff here," said Neal. "There'll be less surveillance here at the back."
"Won't the FBI think to look for Damon there?" asked June.
Neal laughed, "No, Damon will never go in as a staff person—he sees it as 'beneath him'." Neal made air quotes. "The good part about this plan is while we have to avoid being spotted by Damon and the FBI but the FBI is only looking for Damon. They won't be looking for us."
"The best way to get in is through the catering staff," said Mozzie. He looked at Elizabeth.
"Normally, I could get us in under the cover of my company," said Elizabeth, "But-"
"Both Damon and the FBI are going to notice a van saying Burke Events on it," said Neal. He paused, "Moz, whose catering the event?"
Mozzie typed in his computer. "It looks like Carmichael Catering."
"Do you know the owner?" Neal asked Elizabeth.
"I do," said Elizabeth. "What are you thinking?"
"Do you think you could convince her to hire a few staff members for the night?" asked Neal.
Elizabeth smiled, "I'm sure I could. Sarah owes me a favor."
"So we'll come in here," said Neal, pointing to the kitchen entrance. "And then we'll come out here into the main floor. The chest is behind held here," Neal pointed to the blue print. "Mozzie and June-you'll work your way here to this closet. Behind this wall are the cords that run electricity and picture to the video cameras. Once there, you think you can get in and hack the video and auto feeds?"
"You have to ask," said Mozzie. "Once we are into the video feed, I will be able to see everything that Damon and the Feds are seeing and I should be able to run previous feed to cover you."
"Meanwhile," said Neal, "Elizabeth and I will work our way here to where the chest is. Once we get there, we will carefully remove the chest without setting off the alarms and move the chest. The best place to hide the chest over here," he pointed to an area on the blue print, "This is the best place to hide it here in this space. Then we just have to get out and hide before Damon gets up there to steal the chest."
"Is that all?" asked Elizabeth, weakly.
"Do this without getting caught," said Neal
"And we should find a way to get close to Damon to put a tracker on him," said Mozzie. "That way we can keep track of where he is and what he's up to." He sighed, "It will have to be one of you two-" he pointed to Elizabeth or June-"because he'll recognize Neal or myself."
"About that," said Neal. "I've been thinking…if we are going to get by the FBI and Damon…" he paused and then took a deep breath. "You still talk to Carl?"
Mozzie smiled, "You bet. I'll go make a phone call."
"Whose Carl?" asked Elizabeth.
"You'll find out," said Neal. He paused, "You girls sure you want to do this? Because if you want to back out, now would be the time."
Elizabeth and June shared a glance before turning back to Neal.
"Of course we're in," both June and Elizabeth said.
"Don't worry, Neal," said Elizabeth, "We've got a good plan."
"You bet we do," said Neal. He smiled, "Let's go pull of the crime of the century."
A nice long chapter to get through you through the week. And a little teeny tiny cliff hanger; you barely need any climbing gear for this one. ;-)
Please R&R! Reviews encourage me to write faster!