Bryce doesn't generally interfere with Neal's life. Oh he passes by at least once a month to see what he's up to and say hi, but mostly he just watches and smiles at whatever mess Neal's currently embroiled in. Since he's been 'on the run' - or, as Bryce terms it, 'dorking about' - Bryce hasn't dropped in, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know exactly what his brother's up to. He charters a schooner, packs like he's an extra in Miami Vice, and sets off for a trip to the islands.
Barely six weeks later, seeing the bounty hunter arrive on the island shortly followed by Neal's former FBI handler, Bryce guesses that Neal's been well and truly compromised and decides to step in. Maybe Neal was just fitting in with Mozzie's plan, but paying someone for protection doesn't seem like any kind of paradise Bryce has ever heard of. There's no way Neal's naïve enough to assume someone with the local police in his pocket doesn't have big secrets to hide ... he has seen re-runs of Magnum PI.
So why Neal thinks he has to go to MacLeish for help is beyond Bryce. Neal knows how to contact his brother, after all. Still, Bryce dresses for infiltration when Neal doesn't return from the mansion in a timely manner; a Glock and silencer strapped to his back and spare clips in a tactical vest under a loose hoodie. Just half an hour later, he drops into the grounds and makes for the main building, vaulting a balcony and sliding between shutters into a dark room. Neal isn't in here though, so he's got to go a-searching.
When he locates Neal, cuffed and gagged in a cage, he can't help but smile, even when he can hear Neal's captors gloating even as they give him water. He settles into a shadowed alcove outside the window, ready to move in if necessary.
"I came to you for help, Dobbs," Neal says plaintively.
"I don't know why, I wouldn't harbour a fugitive," Dobbs answers, obviously playing up his innocence for the US agent.
Neal growls. "I paid you."
Bryce purses his lips. Oh Neal.
"To help establish yourself on the island," MacLeish argues. "You never said the US government was looking for you."
There's a resounding bang as Collins hits the cage and an entire panel rotates downward to reveal an opening.
"You should get that fixed," Neal quips.
Collins manhandles Neal to a standing position, pushing him against the back of the cage.
MacLeish is redundant, but he still wants to make a contribution. "I told you I didn't want him here."
"Caffrey," Collins threatens lazily. "You only had to be good for a couple hours and," he draws his weapon, "as long as you got two good legs you're gonna find a way to run."
Bryce can't help himself; his Glock appears magically in his hand.
"You're a federal agent," Neal protests, holding up his uncuffed hands in front of himself, as Bryce slides the safety off, already moving.
"You were in the act of fleeing," Collins cocks his head as he rationalises his next action. "You could be armed."
He fires the weapon, hitting Neal in the right thigh, making him cry out.
Collins has no remorse. "No more ru-" and then he hits the back of the cage himself, a 9mm round embedded between his eyes.
Bryce takes three steps toward the cage and jumps over the open cage panel to take out MacLeish with a left hook, the man crashing into the side of the cage before sliding to the floor.
"Son of a bitch!" he mutters, unknotting Neal's neckerchief and tying it tightly round his upper leg. "You alright? It's a flesh wound, or you'd be bleeding out already; just ride it, kay?"
"Gah!" Neal groans intelligently, blinking away the pain. "I didn't think he'd shoot me!"
"Neither did I," Bryce says, sitting him down and casing the area. "I had more faith in your ability to talk your way out of trouble, but he was psychotic."
"They're gonna think I did it," Neal grits out, as Bryce hoists him up under his right arm, taking his weight.
"Not happening," Bryce answers. "That's the blood loss talking, so shut up, yeah?"
"You're not the boss of me," Neal grumps, leaning heavily on his brother.
"Is that why you didn't call me?" Bryce asks. "Because you might remember I've been letting you do your own thing for about eight years now, and without being judgmental, I think you could use a little help occasionally. Like maybe when a bounty hunter is after you, maybe."
"I -" Neal starts, but perhaps he can't think through the pain. "Oh shit," he yelps, collapsing heavily into Bryce's side.
"Here, sit here," Bryce says, depositing him in a private parlour and giving him his Glock. "I'll be back in a moment. Just shoot anyone who's not me."
Bryce heads back down to the cage and wakes up MacLeish with water in his face and a nerve pinch, forcing him up and along the corridors to the office where Neal is. He pushes him down into a chair and ties him up, before rooting through a rolodex for a doctor.
"Wha' the fu'?" MacLeish mutters, glancing through one eye from Neal to Bryce and back again.
"You made a stupid mistake," Bryce answers dialling a number. "Your next one will be fatal. Now shut up."
With the doctor on the way and MacLeish under guard, Bryce sterilises his hunting knife and advances on Neal. Neal allows him to take his pants off and clean the wound, but he seems to spend most of his time glaring at MacLeish.
The doctor arrives within an hour, and Neal winces as she pokes about, removes the bullet and sews him up, but he doesn't allow her to drug him. Meanwhile Bryce is out disabling MacLeish's militia, so that by the time the doc leaves, all of the security have been taken out; all knocked out with either a blow to the head or a shot of diazepam from the good doctor's on call kit, then tied with zipties and locked in various parts of the mansion.
When Bryce returns, Neal has more colour in his face and his tongue is a good deal more dextrous.
Bryce takes his gun back, but he doesn't put it away, instead caressing it as he looks over at MacLeish.
"You set up my brother, handed him to a fed, tied him up, put him in a cage and then let him get shot," he opens conversationally. ""What say I return the favour, Robert?"
MacLeish just glares back mutinously.
Neal's eyebrows contract infinitesimally before clearing. "Dobbs is wanted in the US?" he asks.
"Like the groom at a wedding," Bryce answers. "Or maybe the something blue - I don't think they'd mind him dead."
"I don't think we need to go that far," Neal muses. "Peter's here, we can make use of that. Let me just -" he's already dialling Peter's cell. "Peter, can you and Mozzie come up to Dobbs' place?"
The answer appears to be yes, as Neal is quite satisfied when he puts the phone down.
"I'm not gonna be here when they get here," Bryce warns, unnecessarily. "Some things the FBI don't need to know, or your little friend, for that matter."
"Yeah," Neal murmurs, his eyes straying unbidden to MacLeish. "I know that."
Bryce stands up and stretches, sliding the safety on the Glock and holstering it out of sight again. "And you, Robert. This'll seem like a bad dream when you wake up on US soil," Bryce picks up a fresh syringe and loads it. "Or maybe that'll be the bad dream, and this'll be a nightmare you can't quite remember the details of. Bonne nuit."
He slides the needle into MacLeish's arm and depressed the plunger.
"Remind me not to piss you off," Neal mutters, watching MacLeish's head loll back.
"You piss me off every time you tell me you're not ditching Caffrey," Bryce retorts. "But I live in hope you'll wake up one day and change your mind."
"Ever the optimist," Neal smiles. "But one day, I won't need to say no."
"And I'm the optimist!" Bryce sends him a wry smile. "Take care of yourself, and call me if you need help."
"Yeah," Neal responds as the sound of car doors slamming echoes around the courtyard. "Take care of you, too."
Bryce melts into the shadows even as the silhouetted figures of Peter and Mozzie appear in the doorway. Neal isn't finished with that life, just yet; just because he's done with Bryce doesn't mean he's selfish. He can wait.