White Collar - Prison Break

Neal stepped off the elevator at the FBI offices as normal on a beautiful Autumn Monday morning. He wondered what this week would bring. The good thing about working as a CI for Agent Peter Burke was that he never knew what any week would bring. He could see Peter with his key team members Agent Clinton Jones and Agent Diana Berigan already in the conference room. Peter looked up and spotted him and gave him the two finger point.

Neal jogged up the stairs.

"Morning Guys, What's up?" he asked. There were papers all over the desk which looked like credit card and bank statements.

"We've got a lead on the Citibank identity theft case. We've confirmed that the information is coming from bank officials being bribed by street runners. We just don't have enough evidence to tie them to the guys running the whole operation." Peter explained

"Do we know who they are?" Neal asked picking up some of the papers.

"We've tied it to an Armenian Power gang. There's just one snag they are operating from inside Prison." Peter told him

"They are running a multi million dollar identity theft scheme from inside a prison? That's pretty audacious." Neal almost admired the nerve of the gang.

"We someone to go in so we can work out who is running the scheme and gather evidence to tie them to the runners." Peter told him. Neal didn't like where this was headed.

"Peter you can't possibly mean..." he started to ask slowly, reluctant to hear the answer

"Yep I'm finally sending you back to prison." Peter said in a manner Neal thought was a little too flippant. Neal wasn't too happy about with the idea. He'd been working hard for the FBI all this time to stay out of prison after all. They suspected that at least some of the guards must be looking the other way so they couldn't get the prison on board with their operation, as far as the prison was concerned Neal Caffrey had been recaptured and was being sent back inside. This meant surveillance was going to be tricky. If something went wrong it would be hard to give a signal for help.

"I'll be going in with you" Peter told Neal reassuringly. Neal had the uncomfortable feeling that Peter saw straight through him and his nerves.

"What you going in for?" Neal asked smiling g

"I'll be going in as a guard" Peter corrected him.

It did actually make Neal feel a lot better. At least this time he wouldn't be on his own. He trusted Peter to watch his back.

"So how are we going to keep an eye on the two of you? I don't think the prison service allow inmates to wear gold watches" Diana asked concerned.

"and don't think they allow municipal utility vans inside" Neal commented trying to keep his unease hidden.

"We can tap into the prison's cameras but they won't have audio." Jones commented.

"I'm sure the tech guys can come up with something." Peter said confidently.

"I might be able to help with that. " Neal admitted reluctantly.

"Mozzie?" Peter asked knowingly.

"He does love his toys. The tricky part is going to be getting it inside. I won't be able to take it in with me. Maybe a friendly guard can slip it to me?" Neal asked Peter

"Maybe. If you make it worth my while." Peter smiled at Neal.

"how about I catch an billion dollar identity theft ring?" Neal said cockily

"That should do it." Peter admitted.

Neal sat back and gave them his cocky confident grin. It was just a reflex reaction. He was nervous at the idea of going back into prison again. It hadn't been much fun last time. Though at least it would only be temporary and Peter would be there to back him up.

Mozzie was not happy, but then Mozzie was rarely happy Neal reflected.

"I don't like it Neal. People don't volunteer for prison." Mozzie told Neal angrily

"I know Mozz but it's just a sting I just have to get the information and get out. Peter will be there to back me up. Do you have what I need." Neal asked trying to call Mozzie down, even though he had his own worries about the case. He knew Mozzie disapproved of Neal going into dangerous situations for the FBI. As far as he was concerned risks were only acceptable if there was a big payoff at the end and even then he wasn't keen on Neal taking any chances.

"Okay, but I'm giving it to you under protest." Mozzie agreed reluctantly pulling a small case out of his pocket

"Noted." Neal acknowledged and took the box, inside is a small flesh coloured device that hooks over Neal's ear

"It's the smallest one I have but that means it's only a transmitter not a receiver. It should have a wide enough radius for the van suits to pick up the sound from their van outside the prison." Mozzie explained animatedly. He might not approve of the job but he couldn't resist getting excited about testing his new toy.

"It's perfect. Nice going Q." Neal told Mozzie who smiles briefly at the James Bond reference. Neal puts the piece on in the mirror flattening the flesh part down and making sure it's not noticeable once his hair is back in place.

"Though if they do find it you realise if they do find it they aren't going to be giving you hugs and kisses, except maybe of the Godfather variety." Mozzie worries.

Neal gives Mozz his best con man grin as he looks at Mozzie in the mirror.

"Then I'll just have to make sure they don't find it." He tells Mozzie confidently.

The journey to the prison was uneventful and he was admitted without incident. He was placed in a cell with another prisoner who was in for burglary and who seemed okay. He quickly got to work charming the guards and other prisoners. Establishing himself as a fixer and good guy to know. It didn't pay to be slow in prison if you wanted to survive. Peter arrived the next day for his first shift. Neal had to suppress a smile when he saw Peter in his prison uniform.

"Nice hat" Neal couldn't help commenting.

"You giving me lip Caffrey?" Peter asked giving him a mock frown. Unfortunately another Guard with a name badge that said Myers overheard he was thin and greasy looking, he looked like he hadn't seen a shower in some time Neal thought with distaste

"You know this one?" Myers asked

"Yeah, I was working at the supermax where he escaped." Peter answered, thinking quickly.

"Yeah? Well you'd better not try anything here Caffrey" Myers warned Neal, poking him in the chest with a bony finger. Neal bit down his disgust of the man touching him and tried not to wipe the front of his shirt

"Yes sir. I just want to do my time and get out of here" Neal told him as sincerely as he could. Peter pushed past Myers to loom over Neal, blocking Myers eyeline in the narror corridor

"You'd better behave. I've got my eye on you." Peter told Neal menacingly slipping him the earpiece.

Neal asked around and found what all the big games in town were. There were quite a few scams going on but he wouldn't tell Peter. He was only here to crack the case they were working on. After all prisoners have to do something to pass the time. He remembered the monotony of serving time himself, the long hours with nothing to do in that tiny cell it drove him crazy. At least in a normal prison you got to hang out with other prisoners. He quickly found the gang. The leader Andrei was not a big man. He was dark and small but stocky and had a definite air of menace about him. He had three men, two were your typical goons, big with heavy stubble and beards. The last one was younger and slight like Neal with fairer hair. Neal asked around and his name turned out to be Pietre too, he was Andrei's cousin. He seemed permanently nervous. The question was how was Neal was going to get an in.

It wasn't like they needed another person and they would be suspicious of Neal if he just tried to elbow his way in. Maybe he could get Peter to arrange for one of the gang members to be transferred somewhere else, create an opening for himself. He watched from the food hall while Andrei said something to one of his men who casually strolled over to one of the guards and passed him something. At least he had identified one of the ways they were getting information out.

Neal was chatting to his fellow inmates making them laugh when he spotted Peter entering. He gave him a signal to meet him in the corridor and excused himself from his fellow prisoners. They complain that he is leaving them.

"Got to see a man about some cigarettes" Neal told them excusing himself.

Neal crosses the hall and passes something to the guard standing on one side before he lets Neal slip out to speak to Peter.

"I see you have made yourself at home." Peter tells Neal disapprovingly.

Neal smiles at him cheekily

"I'm just doing my time Peter, like you wanted".

He quickly tells Peter what he has found.

"So the guards are how they are passing information. That's not good, though I guess it explains a lot. So how we going to play this?"

"Pietre seems like the weak link. I could befriend him, see what he is willing to share. The only problem is getting him alone might be tricky." Neal told Peter

"Any ideas?" Peter asks sarcastically, he knows Neal so well that he knows Neal definitely has at least one plan in place and possibly two or three back up plans.

"Actually I do. Lockdown." Neal admitted.

"lockdown?" Peter asked puzzled

"When a lockdown is called prisoners have to go into the nearest cell." Neal explained knowing Peter would put the rest of the plan together from that.

"So you might just happen to be next to Pietre when the lockdown in called." Peter confirmed

"Do you think you can arrange one?" Neal asked.

"Leave it to me." Peter confirmed.

Peter finishes his shift and leaves the prison and drives down the road to where Diana and Jones are in the van. He takes off his hat and gets in with them. They have hacked into the prison camera system and are watching everything on the monitors.

"During my next shift I need you to call in a security alert to the prison. Tell them to put the prison on lockdown until we can carry out a search. Make sure you have the team on alert in case anything goes wrong." Peter told them seriously.

"Sure thing boss. Everything okay in there?" Jones asked concerned that Peter seemed a bit stressed.

"Fine so far. I just want to be ready in case anything goes wrong." Peter told them.

"Caffrey causing problems again?" Jones asked

"No. No more than usual anyway. I'm just concerned that if anything goes wrong we aren't going to be able to go storming to the rescue like normal." Peter explained

"You'll have the guards to back you up." Diana reminded him.

"That's part of the problem. I'm not sure how many of them are dirty. If anything goes wrong, Neal is on his own in there." The three of them watch Neal going back to his cell on the prison cameras which they have hacked in to.

"You should go home, get some rest. We've got this covered." Diana told Peter. Peter didn't like to leave knowing he was leaving Neal in there but he had to rest and Neal should be fine overnight.

"Okay. Call me if anything happens." Peter tells them.

Elizabeth has dinner waiting for him when he gets home. He kisses her hello and inhales.

"That smells great honey" he tells her appreciatively.

"I figured you might be hungry after eating prison food all day" El tells him.

"How's Neal doing?" Elizabeth asked. She knew from Peter that Neal had been nervous about going back in for this case.

"He's already got most of the prison wrapped around his little finger." Peter told her irritably.

"Ah the Neal Caffrey charm. That's what he is supposed to do right? So why the frown?" Elizabeth asked puzzled.

"He just fit back in with the other inmates a little too easily for my liking" he told her. Talking to Elizabeth always helped him think through his worries. As always, he thanked his lucky stars for having her as his wife.

"Well honey, he is a conman, just because he is pretending to fit in there doesn't mean he is" Elizabeth pointed out as she dished out the dinner.

"I suppose." Peter admitted.

"That's not the only thing worrying you, what is it?" Elizabeth asked taking a sip of wine.

"It's just it looks like some of the guards are in on the fraud. The response time for the team on this one isn't going to be quick. If anything happens Neal could be on his own for a while." Peter told her

" Well as you say, he knows what he's doing you'll just have to trust him and you'll be there to help him." Elizabeth reassured him. Peter just hoped she was right.