As usual I own nothing in regards to White Collar, I make no money off it and intend no infringement. I'm just playing in their world. I hope they take it as a compliment -I sure wouldn't bother if I didn't love it! Thanks for the reviews all: Hope you enjoy Part 2!
The cells that now housed the hostages at most normally held two inmates. There were four hostages in one now and four in the next one. The victorious inmates didn't really need to guard them. Most knew it took a lot of planning and preparations and some luck to escape those cells. The hostage takers didn't plan to give them that long. They were threatening to kill if they didn't get what they wanted.
Peter Burke sat in the same cell as Warden Haskill and two guards. They were now clothed in prison orange. The leader of this insurrection figured any rescue attempt would mistake them for convicts in the heat of the attack and kill them too. Various inmates did stroll by just to see their former guards and captors on the wrong side of the bars. Some taunted, some just looked on. Some looked worried. There was a lull eventually when no more wandered past.
Music started blasting, it sounded like the inmates figured it was party time. It was so loud it thudded the walls, one could feel the shake. Finally it went silent, one of the leaders stormed past, checking them, grumbling about people who played music so loud one couldn't hear oneself think. Apparently he'd ordered the shut off, no-one would argue with the guy toting the gun.
The place felt cold. In the distance, laughter and cheers echoed off the walls. In the cells it was quiet. None of them had much to say. Another figure moved past the bars. It halted, leaned against the railing behind and eyed them thoughtfully. The mustached man waited until another convict moved passed, spitting in at the captives. Then he leaned down to look at the lock and reached inside his orange top.
"Would this be a good time to ask for a raise?" Neal's asked with perfect innocence.
Heads snapped up and Peter fairly leaped at the bars. "What the blazes are you doing here?!"
"I figured you need some lessons in jail break 101."
"All my efforts to keep you out and you break in!" Peter was smiling now, he couldn't help it.
Neal was wearing a fake mustache and his hair looked different. He also sported a pair of glasses. He leaned over the lock and fiddled with a gadget with wires and a magnet.
"What's going on?" Warden Haskill tried to move around Peter. Peter glanced at him and wasn't surprised to see he didn't recognize his disguised former resident. Footsteps neared. Neal straightened.
His hand darted between the bars as he spun, dropping a small pouch of something into Peter's hand and moved swiftly away. Peter turned his back and sat on the bunk. GPS trackers, one for each hostage. If the rescue busted in to retake the place at least they'd know where the hostages were. Peter wondered how they'd been convinced to trust Neal with this. Neal moved back to the door and fiddled with a mystery gadget some more.
A big blond guy suddenly appeared looking over Neal's shoulder. He'd approached quietly but now he grabbed for Caffery. "Hey,..." he grunted as Neal spun around and slammed into him. The man started to yell.
Neal swung an elbow at him. They ended up rolling and tumbling, fists flying. Peter winced, clutching bars. Neal was a brains guy, not a fighter. But clearly that didn't mean he couldn't defend himself. The man started up again, voice raising. Neal whipped a gun out and pointed it at him.
The man stopped mid yelp and backed up. "Someone grab him please?"
An arm shot out of the cell and grabbed an arm. Another went around his throat.
Neal came back and handed the gun through the bars to Peter.
"Now I feel better." Peter remarked, hefting the weapon.
Neal worked his magic gadget and the door lock popped. "I don't. One shot will bring on the army. Two armies really." He swung the door open and moved on to the next. It went quicker with each door, but once one was open the danger increased. Any more gawkers to come along would sound the alarm.
"You do have a plan after this right?" Peter rose an eyebrow at him.
"Lead you out. Down past the secret exit in the boiler room." Neal started walking, Peter at his side.
The rest started after him uncertainly.
A large, african american guard blinked at him. "Secret exit? Boiler room? You gotta be kidding. There is a whole mess of inmates between us and there."
"Including us. The jump suits mean everybody looks alike. You're out of context, as long as you act natural they shouldn't recognize you. Relax Bobby, it'll be fine."
Bobby did not look reassured. But he did look puzzled. He peered closer at Neal. Then he gasped. "Caffery?"
"Took you long enough." Peter muttered, looking around.
The warden looked incredulous. Finally he demanded "What secret exit?"
"The one O' Hallery used to brag about. Said he'd have made it out years ago but the friend he had digging in got killed in a shootout before he could finish it. I'd have been here hours ago but we had to finish digging in."
The warden looked appalled and some of the guards exchanged stunned looks. Neal noticed them staring. "What? I didn't dig it, I just took advantage. Jones called up the prison map and we found the likeliest place for the tunnel, then we found the entrance. We were lucky it was real."
"Just in the event that someone does recognize someone is there a plan B?" Peter had serious doubts. Not about Neal, he knew Neal could pull it off. But the Warden conning his way through the convicts? The very fact the man doubted was reason to worry. They would smell fear." They were passing small groups of inmates now.
"Sure. We duck into the storage area and block it off while the rescue rushes in." Neal's voice was grimmer now. His eyes took on a stony look. He didn't have to add what that meant. They may be safe from a blood bath, but everyone else would get blasted.
"Better break it up guys." Neal remarked casually as they reached an open area.
"He's right. We're conspicuous in a bunch." Peter noted the hostages reluctance to take orders from a convict, albeit one not waving a gun at them. One in particular hung back.
"Wait a minute."
"Here it comes." Peter thought. The other problem with the escape plan, it required the guards to trust a convict, follow his orders.
"We're going to trust him? He's one of them!" Ironically the dark haired, scruffy guard really blended with the prisoners.
"Jay's right...we need our own plan."
Neal glanced back. Peter wasn't sure if Neal had heard or just guessed what they were saying. His eyes were worried.
Peter spun, angry. "Now look," he growled. "Whatever you think of him, he was SAFE. He didn't have to come in here and open the doors for us. What do you think will happen if these inmates find out one of their own-as you call him-let us out? He's risking his neck. And I guarantee you, I may not trust him with a million dollar painting but I'd bet my life on him any day."
The guards looked stunned. All of them had stopped in a clump to listen. Neal's eyes were big and he smiled. Peter's hand tightened on the gun, his stomach felt funny. His own words brought on the full impact of this. Caffery was constantly on the line, testing the edge between unorthodox methods to get evidence and outright illegal behavior. One slip and he'd be back in here. And if any of these guys tumbled that he was responsible for walking off with their hostages he'd have a nightmare waiting for him. Even if they made it out, Neal could pay for this at a later date.
They scattered. Neal ambled around, talking to people here and there. Peter noticed him tapping his hand, leaning on rails and generally being far too social for safety. He wandered closer. Bugs. Neal was planting bugs, so the guys on the outside would hear what was going on. The warden was making a bee line for the supposed exit. Peter smiled. They may not trust Neal but they clearly had no better ideas, at least he'd given them an option. Peter didn't talk to anyone and didn't meet any eyes. There was too much chance he'd bump into someone else he'd convicted. But he waited for Caffery at the door. He noticed the two resistant hostages moving toward one inmate who'd gotten a guard's rifle. He was near Peter frowned. Were they going to try...
"Hey! Wait! That's one of the guards!" The gun toter yanked it up.
The guard grabbed it, wrestling.
Neal spun, just short of the door. Peter yanked him through and shoved him behind him. Gun guy got slammed back but the scruffy guard lost his grip on the gun. The other inmates charged them. Scruffy's buddy-Jay-grabbed him and hauled him to the door. Peter held the door open as the men shot through. One inmate was right on top of them. Peter brandished the pistol and the convict froze, tattooed face contorted with fury. He yelled. Behind the nearest he could see the rifle come up. The view was blocked by the door slamming. Neal did something with the lock. The door shook. They turned together and ran, found only Bobby waiting in sight.
Someone ahead yelled. There was someone between them and the exit. The fleeing guards tackled him. They dove through more doors, putting rooms between them and inmates. Neal was falling behind, taking time to jam doors. Finally Peter had to stop and wait for him. A yelp from the rest of the hostages made him spin back, gun raised.
A dark skinned man held a gun pointed at the ceiling. "Whoa! Agent Burke, It's just me!"
"Jones, what are you doing here?"
"Holding the back door open for you. We didn't really trust the national guard not to come in blasting. Especially if..."
"Well, if Caffery fell behind, they kind of have the attitude he's expendable."
Peter scowled. "OF COURSE, they do!" He shook his head in dismay. "You'd think he was a killer the way they view him sometimes..."
Jones shrugged and nodded. "It was a fight to convince them in the first place. If they'd had any other ideas they'd never have agreed."
"Well, now what?"
"Through there-see the grate?" More than a few people wrinkled noses. Now that he thought about it Neal didn't smell so great-he'd just been too glad to see him to notice.
They had to climb through a grate to get into the sewer system. There they had to move through damp, moldy tunnels to get to a gap where pipes came in. It had been widened. One by one they crept through the crack and found a tunnel, recently braced.
They came out into the dawn of a cool morning. Neal flipped a phone open.
"We're out. One, two, eight...hostages." He glance back at Peter and Jones..."I have a feeling you might want to drop those guns-hurry."
"Oh!" Jones looked down at himself and dropped the gun. Realization hit Peter and he did too.
People swooped in, guns drawn. "Hands up! On the ground! Now!"
Neal rolled his eyes and shook his head, but dropped.
"Guys! Hey it's us!" Jones yelled.
"I'm the warden!"
Everyone reluctantly hit the ground, until the officials had time to match faces with names and confirm identities.
Elizabeth darted up and landed on Peter in relief. She enveloped him in a hug that proved his identity in no uncertain terms. Peter grinned. In spite of the doubtful looks the guards were still giving Neal, the con artist wandered off with Jones.
Without hostages, the inmates caved in pretty quick. A few actually found the tunnel and came out, only to find police waiting.
Neal changed clothes and bounded back into the lobby of the small motel where they'd set up operations. He had a cheshire cat grin on and was twirling his hat.
"I'm three for three on breakouts." He said happily.
Peter rolled his eyes. "Don't let it go to your head. If you do your hat won't fit."
The guard, Bobby was sitting on the couch. He suddenly smiled. "Thanks."
"For the rescue? It was the ultimate con..."
"That too. But it might be handy knowing how you can get through some of those doors someday."
Neal's face froze and the hat stopped twirling. "Mmm. Knew there was a downside...." He grinned again. "Some of that doesn't work when the cameras are working anyway though!"
"What happened to the cameras?" Peter asked.
Neal just smiled.
The ride home later was pleasant. The after action questioning had worn them out. Neal was in the back seat. Satchmo was snoozing halfway on his lap. Elizabeth had dozed off in the passenger seat.
"Who gave you the gun, Neal?"
"The one you gave me. I can't believe they trusted you with it."
"Um. I just thought you could use it."
"That's not an answer."
"I'd rather not get anyone in trouble."
"So it wasn't officially given to you?"
"Taking another gun in was risky."
"I only brought it for you. You know I hate guns, if I thought things could get worse I wouldn't have touched it. Thanks for the support back there though Peter. For a second I thought those guys were going to blow it just because their ego couldn't handle being rescued by a con."
"You're thanking me? They could've gotten me killed too you know. And what you did was really above and beyond the call of duty."
"I'd have been stuck in the middle anyway if you hadn't let me work for you. Do you really trust me like you told those guards? Seems like a dangerous thing to admit. Those guys will think you're nuts."
"They thought that the minute I agreed to make you a consultant!"
"They'll think worse now. And you didn't answer 'do you trust me?"
"With my life? You've proven that. My family? probably. The family jewels, famous paintings and loads of cash...." Peter glanced in the rear view mirror at him. "Nope."
"We'll have to work on that."
"YOU'LL have to work on that!"
I decided to make my first story (probably stories) short. Since my life is a bit complicated at the moment I didn't want to risk starting something I might not be able to finish. But I hope I had quality even if there wasn't quantity. White Collar and it's creators are a great inspiration! Thanks for reading.