Thank you for reading! I'm a little unsure about this one, so please let me know if you like it so I can decide whether or not I should continue with it.
"I don't see what the big deal is, Peter," Neal said with a sigh, walking into the bank.
"You stole my car!" Peter exclaimed.
"I did not steal it!" Neal protested. "I borrowed it without permission."
"That's called stealing, Neal!" Peter said, annoyed.
"No, that's called friendship, Peter," Neal said with one of his award-winning smiles.
Peter rolled his eyes. "Sometimes I wonder why I bothered getting you out of prison," he muttered.
"Oh admit it," Neal said playfully. "If it weren't for me, you wouldn't have half your success rate."
Peter once again rolled his eyes but did not respond. Neal took this as a victory and smiled widely.
"So tell me about this case," Neal said as they got in line.
"Some guy claimed there were some things missing from his safe deposit box," Peter sighed. "When they heard, a lot of customers got nervous and checked their safe deposit boxes. Turns out almost everyone had items missing."
"No alarms were tripped, the security tapes showed nothing?" Neal guessed.
"That's why you're here," Peter confirmed with a smile.
"Yes, that's why I'm here. In the morning. On my day off," Neal sighed.
"You don't get official days off," Peter reminded him. "You wouldn't in prison, so you don't out here."
"Yeah, but you and I agreed that I wouldn't be coming in today," Neal complained.
"That was before you stole my car," Peter countered.
"Borrowed!" Neal protested.
"You didn't ask!" Peter said, frustrated.
"I gave it back, though, didn't I? Full tank of gas and everything!" Neal reminded him.
"Still called stealing," Peter muttered.
"Still called friendship," Neal muttered in reply.
"What were you doing with it, anyway?" Peter asked, curious.
Just as Neal was about to reply, a round of gunshots silenced them, and they instinctively ducked as several others in the bank screamed. Looking to the source of the noise, they saw three men in ski masks holding fully automatic machine guns, plus one more securing the front doors with locks and chains.
"Good morning, everyone," said the one in the middle, who had fired the initial shots into the ceiling. "Everybody just stay calm, and nobody will get hurt, are we clear?" he didn't wait for a response, "Good. Now everybody take out their cell phones and put them on the ground."
Everyone in the room obeyed without hesitation. Looking at his friend and partner, Neal could see Peter was thinking about going for his own gun.
"Peter," he warned in a loud whisper. When Peter met his eyes, Neal shook his head vigorously, warning him to back off. "You're going to get yourself killed!"
As if reading their minds, one of the men, who had gone around scooping up the cell phones, pressed his gun into Peter's back.
"I'll take that," he growled in his ear, taking Peter's gun from its holster.
Neal and Peter exchanged glances. This was going to be a long day...
Peter and Neal, along with the rest of the people in the bank – moms with children, impatient businessmen, security guards, tellers, and of course just the average New Yorkers – were ushered into an office in the back of the bank. Looking around, Neal counted twenty-seven people total, including children and, of course, him and Peter. A pair of four-year-olds, a boy and a girl, who looked enough alike to be twins, were crying across from them. Their mother tried to comfort them, but it was having no effect. When the robbers closed the door, locking them inside, Neal turned to Peter.
"Please tell me you have some kind of plan," he said in a loud whisper, taking note of the shadow outside the frosted glass window built into the door, presumably belonging to one of the robbers on guard duty.
"Yeah, Neal, I knew this was going to happen today, so of course I came up with a plan last night of what we should do," Peter said sarcastically.
Neal let out an exasperated sigh, "Well you better figure it out soon!" he hissed. Even though he tried to remain calm and act like he wasn't nervous, Peter could still see the fear in his friend and partner's eyes.
Peter sighed. "Honestly, Neal, I'm not sure there's much I can do," he said regretfully. "We might just have to wait it out."
Neal groaned, "See, this is why I should not have come in today. It figures my day off would turn into a damn hostage situation."
"Well, you wouldn't have had to come in today if you hadn't stolen my car," Peter reminded him.
"Borrowed," Neal muttered stubbornly. "If I hadn't borrowed your car and I had stayed home today, would you have gone here alone?" he asked after a moment.
"Probably," Peter acknowledged. "Why?"
"Then it's a good thing I'm here," Neal sighed. "Well, good for you, bad for me."
"Why good for me, bad for you?" Peter asked.
"Well, good for you because I'm Neal Caffrey, master thief, and I might lend some help in this situation," Neal explained. "Bad for me because, well, I'm Neal Caffrey, master thief, and I have a feeling this is going to come back to haunt me. I mean, some people at the FBI really hate my guts. Do you really think they're going to believe I was here by coincidence? No. They're going to try and blame me for this."
"If they do, I'll kick their asses," Peter muttered. It really annoyed him when people judged Neal for who he was, not who he had become.
"Aww, that's sweet, Peter," Neal teased. Peter chuckled.
At that moment, the door opened, and one of the men leaned in, his finger on the trigger of his gun. A few people let out terrified whimpers, and Peter and Neal stiffened. To their surprise, the man's eyes fell on them.
"You two," he grunted, his voice gravelly. "Come with me. Now!"
Peter and Neal exchanged glances, then got to their feet and allowed themselves to be escorted out of the room. There were two more men out there waiting for them.
"You stay here," one of them said to Peter. He had brown eyes, the only distinguishable feature through the ski mask.
"No," Peter refused. He didn't want to leave Neal alone with these people.
In response, the man who called them out, whose eyes were green, he noticed, stepped forward and struck Peter across the face with the butt of his gun.
"Peter!" Neal exclaimed in concern, steadying his friend when he stumbled.
"I'm ok," Peter whispered after a moment, straightening up, wincing at the sting in his face.
"Just listen to them," Neal whispered back. "I'll be fine."
"You don't know that," Peter hissed.
But they really didn't have a choice, as they soon discovered. The man with the brown eyes grabbed Neal by the arm and yanked him away from Peter's side. When Peter tried to go after him, the man with the green eyes, as well as the remaining man, who had blue eyes, shoved him back against the wall and pinned him there. Peter struggled against their grip as Neal was dragged down the hall, but it was no use. As Neal and his captor turned a corner, Peter gave up his struggle. When he did, the two men holding him pulled him away from the wall and shoved him into a supply closet across the hall. Peter listened as they turned the lock, sealing Peter inside, in complete and total darkness...
Thirty minutes later, Peter jumped when someone slid a cell phone and a note under the door of the supply closet. Hesitant and confused, Peter waited until he heard them walk away before picking up both items. He recognized the cell phone as his own, and used the light from the screen to read the note. It was folded in half, and written on the front in block letters were the words:
LET'S PLAY A GAME...
Peter hesitantly opened the note and found a picture of Neal, tied up and gagged, unconscious in the trunk of a car. The sight of it made his stomach lurch. He took a moment to gather himself before he turned his attention to the cell phone in his hand, quickly calling Jones.
"Jones," he said breathlessly when his friend and colleague answered. "You need to get a team down to the bank. Now."