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10 August 2010 @ 01:21 am
White Collar Fiction: "A Conspiracy Of Comfort" (Mozzie, Neal, Peter, Gen, PG)  
Title: A Conspiracy Of Comfort
Fandom: White Collar
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Mozzie, Neal, Peter (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary (early Season 2): Neal has stolen millions of dollars of goods, but it's his friendships that make him rich.
Author's Notes: Day five of the Bleeding Cuticles Roadkill Challenge. Also for writers_choice, this is "Friendship."


In all the time he and Neal have known each other, Mozzie has never pushed.

He'll speak up when he thinks Neal's courting danger, of course. What kind of friend would he be if he let Neal get himself caught again because of some overlooked detail or potential trap?

But he doesn't ask Neal about things like losing Kate. He'll always listen if Neal talks, but he never asks. That's how it works between them. Mozzie's not that comfortable with the emotional stuff, and sometimes Neal can be very private.

It's not like Mozzie tells Neal everything, either. Mozzie has secrets too. Sure, they're not big ones, but they could be. Someday.

The point is, Mozzie respects Neal's boundaries, even when he wishes they weren't there. He doesn't pry.

Doesn't mean that it keeps him from worrying.

This is why he finds himself on a park bench, talking with The Suit. It's more exposed than Mozzie likes, but The Suit won't play the game like he's supposed to. They talk in broad daylight, where anyone could see them (including Neal). Mozzie tries to act casual, which is impossible when what he really wants is to hide inside his hat.

"Neal looks terrible," The Suit says. "He's too skinny."

"He's always been slender," Mozzie protests, defending Neal reflexively when the truth is that he agrees. Just last week, he gave June a list of Neal's favorite desserts. Maybe she can fatten him up, help chase the gray circles out from under Neal's eyes.

"You need anything?" The Suit says gruffly.

"I think we're good."

Mozzie knows The Suit likes Neal (maybe even a lot), but he's not willing to bet Neal's future on it. He'll take care of Neal his own way, keeping him engaged and entertained and letting time heal the rest.

He heads back to Neal's loft, even though he has a ton of law books waiting to be read at home. They're part of his current persona—an aid to authenticity—and if that doesn't work out, then however much he learns will probably come in handy later.

Mozzie peeks in through the window. Neal is staring off into space, but pulls out of it when Mozzie knocks. Neal ushers him in.

"Do you think I should move?" Mozzie says by way of greeting.

"Move?" Neal offers him a chair. "Why?"

"I heard this rumor about a new storage facility on the East Side. It has electricity, year-round climate-control, and wireless."

"Wireless?" Neal laughs, his smile genuine. "Someone's pulling your leg, Moz. Besides, you can't run wireless through all that metal and concrete."

"Probably not, but if you could? Think how great it would be."

"Or you could just move into a real place, like everybody else," Neal suggests.

They've been down this road before, and they both know how it ends, but it doesn't matter. That's not what this is about.

Are you in there? is the question behind Mozzie's question. Will you be all right?

The style and tone of Neal's response is far more important than whatever words he happens to choose.

Today, the answer is Yes.

-------- fin --------

cindy: fangirltsuki_no_bara on August 10th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
mozzie! *hearts* this made me squee.

(i really like that you gave him an inner life and more of a personality than just "neal's terminally paranoid partner in crime". and i love that the conversation he has with neal is really about what they're not saying, because i think mozzie is all about figuring out what's going on under the surface and behind a person's words. on the show they play it mostly as paranoia and nerves and ridiculousness, but it can just as easily be used when he's worried about his friend. and i love that he doesn't trust the suit peter to take care of neal, because let's be honest, he doesn't exactly trust peter with ANYTHING.)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 10th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
Another Mozzie fan! I adore him, and I find him as adoraBLE as he is funny (HalfshellHusband agrees).

Most of what we've seen in his interactions with Neal is that Mozzie's 'paranoia' isn't just random. He usually has good reasons for his concerns (heck, Mozzie's as much on the wrong side of the law as Neal is, he just keeps a lower profile).

I completely understand why Mozzie doesn't trust Peter, even if he's pretty sure that he could. Mozzie takes his role in friendship very seriously, and he is not about to let Neal destroy himself if he can help it-- even if that means keeping Neal from trusting the wrong person, even if it means that person might unintentionally cause trouble for Neal.

And I love him all the more for it, just as I love Peter. WE know Peter is (probably almost entirely) trustworthy, but Mozzie has to be much more careful.
Wingstarwingstar102 on August 10th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
*sniffle* I love your Moz. And the tone of this fic is so... hopeful. I love the subtler emotions in a fic and you captured them in this perfectly. Will beg and grovel for more!

Love and cherries,
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 10th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Yay! This is such lovely feedback, especially for a character that I adore and who has so much more to him than the surface of being Neal's funny/paranoid/convenient sidekick. He's a very good friend to Neal, and you get the sense that Mozzie doesn't get that close to very many people any more than Neal does.

Neal is lucky to have found him, however that might have happened. :)

daria234daria234 on August 10th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
LOVE it. Mozzie really is a wonderful friend, and knows him well - and knows when to push and when not to. I like his thoughts on Neal and Peter, his method of testing Neal out.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 10th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you! He's a very, very good friend-- which not only has to be rare for Neal, but rare that he has a friend who knows exactly what he does for a living and aligns well with it instead of being distanced by it. It's a little trickier, with Neal (mostly) on the other side of the law now, but Mozzie would never give up on him because of something like that.

The guy is worth his fuzzy teddy-bear weight in gold!
sg_labsg_lab on August 10th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
Oh I really loved this. I've been wanting some Mozzie, Neal friendship fic.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 12th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
I'm so glad other people like that too. I get such a kick out of Neal and Mozzie's friendship, and how different it is from what Neal has with Peter. And I adore Mozzie to pieces. :)
damietta on August 10th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)
I love Mozzie's brand of friendship. His inner dialogue and his outer mechanicisms are perfect.

I do wish the showrunners had allowed Neal a few minutes more of grieving and had Moz do things like this.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 12th, 2010 12:55 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you find this true to the character. He's a real favorite of mine.

I agree that it would have been nice to have a little more grieving, rather than rushing past it. That human aspect of Neal is every bit as important as his flair in pulling off scams-- it's the balance between the two things that is so unusual and makes him so interesting.
jrosemaryjrosemary on August 11th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you're writing more White Collar! I love the way you capture Moz here, with his constant concern for Neal and his uneasy alliance with the equally concerned Peter. It seems each man looks after Neal in his own way--and I'm glad that Moz recognizes this day, at least, as a good one for Neal.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 12th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
I totally thought that other story was a onetime thing, and then suddenly found myself hearing Mozzie's voice in my head.

I think it's easy to overlook Mozzie's depths, when he's much more than comic relief. He's the one person (besides Kate) whom Neal entirely trusts, and now he's the only truly safe friend Neal has left.

And he knows enought to enlist Peter and June's help, at least to certain limited degrees.
crimson_bunnycrimson_bunny on August 12th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
Thank you for this! Not only is Mozzie my favorite character but I do love the way you capture his true friendship for Neil. I love the between the lines conversation.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 12th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
One of the things I love about their friendship is that the two of them are so different on the outside, and very different in other ways other than their overlapping less-than-legal interests. But they have a solid bond and real compatibility, and the friendships that are unexpected are always more interesting to me!
Ursula4xursula4x on August 12th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
Really nice Mozzie perspective. He is so much fun to play with.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 12th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
I get such a kick out of him-- more love, less mocking! Though a little giggling is okay, because a guy who actually lives in a storage locker has definitely earned it. ;)

So Mozzie-- it's like being 'off the grid' and in the center of the action all at the same time!
secretsolitairesecretsolitaire on August 21st, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh, those last few lines are perfect!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 21st, 2010 08:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! I love the idea that Mozzie is actually much more subtle than people given him credit for. :)
The Gauche in the Machine: WC - Neal/Mozchina_shop on November 8th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
Oh yay! I adore this. Moz!! <3
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 8th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you found my other Neal & Mozzie fic. So much Mozzie love!

I love their friendship, whether it's scheming together or being quirky and companionable. :)
mergatrude on November 9th, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely. Mozzie is my favourite. &hearts
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 9th, 2010 06:21 am (UTC)
I get such a kick out of him, and I'm sure you know why! :)
(Anonymous) on March 21st, 2011 03:53 am (UTC)
Very good stuff.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 21st, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
Thank you! I really love the unique way these two characters interact with one another. :)
realpestilencerealpestilence on April 13th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
I'm just getting into WC, and I really like this look at the Neal-Mozzie friendship. I think it's important to show that Neal ~does have his own relationships, regardless of what side of the law he might have been on; and that Mozzie isn't just a sidekick.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on April 13th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you found this one!

I really enjoy White Collar, and I love Neal and Mozzie together. Their friendship is so different from Neal's and Peter's, but it's deep and loyal (on both sides).

Really, they might each be the only true-to-the-end friend the other has.

I think Peter likes Neal a LOT more than Mozzie's willing to believe, but Mozzie is suspicious by nature (and in his view, Peter has 'burned' Neal before). The fact that Mozzie likes and trusts Neal so much says volumes about Neal.

I also adore Mozzie to a ridiculous degree, so there's that. ;)