Fandom: White Collar (light Xover with Burn Notice)
Characters: Mozzie, Neal, Barry Burkowski (Gen, Humor, Fluff)
Summary: Mozzie hated New York winters.
Author's Notes: An Australian Flood Auction story for misura, who wanted Mozzie to meet up with Barry the Money Launderer from "Burn Notice." I hope this does the trick!
Ordinarily, Mozzie resisted falling into stereotypes, and he had no interest in being thought of as prematurely old.
But the truth was that he absolutely hated New York winters. So when the weather got colder, Mozzie started thinking about opportunities in the south, and the place he kept coming back to was Miami.
Thousands of geriatric New Yorkers couldn't be wrong.
"How would you feel about visiting Florida?" he asked Neal.
"I'd rather keep my leg in one piece."
Mozzie scowled. Stupid ankle bracelet. Even now, he sometimes forgot.
So he made arrangements to travel alone. Three days later, he was in a hotel within walking distance of the beach, already dreaming of his first big score.
He called Neal the next morning. "I need a money man."
"Funny, I thought that was the whole point of the trip."
"Not a guy with money—a guy who moves money."
"Oh," Neal said. "I'll see what I can do."
Mozzie was at the beach reading Kafka and slathered in sunblock when Neal called back.
"I can't hear you over the waves," Mozzie announced.
"Burkowski," Neal repeated. "Barry Burkowski."
Mozzie drew pictures on a scrap of paper—a strawberry, an ice cube, a stick-figure bovine, and something ski-like sliding down a hill. He squinted at it, and added a tiny snowflake next to the last part.
Mozzie enscribed a corresponding series of tally marks divided by spaces up the side of the paper. "Got it—thanks."
"Have fun," Neal said, "and keep a low profile."
"I intend to."
Mozzie hung up the phone, and folded up the paper and slipped it inside his book. He toyed with the idea of stopping by a café and trying one of those drinks that came with umbrellas. Clearheadedness won out. Maybe tomorrow, he thought.
Instead, he went to the library and poked around through public records. After that, it was back to his motel room, where he marked up a copy of the city map and hatched a couple of promising schemes.
He called Barry later that night.
"How did you get this number?" Barry asked.
"I have my sources. You were recommended by a contact in New York."
"I don't think so," Barry said, and hung up.
Mozzie stared at the Call ended display, and frowned. Still, he couldn't blame the man for being careful. He hit 'redial' and waited.
"Neal Caffrey," Mozzie said hurriedly. "That's how I got your name."
"I'd like to discuss a business opportunity."
"Not on the phone."
"No, of course not."
Mozzie liked the way Barry thought.
They met at a coffee bar near the beach, someplace both public and anonymous. Mozzie ordered an Italian soda, which wasn't, and tried to put it out of his mind by focusing on laying out his proposition for Barry instead.
"I think I'll pass," Barry said, after hardly a moment's reflection.
"No dice. Gotta go."
Barry picked up his coffee (he'd chosen a paper cup, which Mozzie felt he should have noticed earlier) and was out the door before Mozzie had even gotten to his feet.
Mozzie went outside and called Neal.
"He just took off, and it would've been a great opportunity for him. For both of us!"
"Oh," Neal said. "I might've heard something like that about him… Barry can be a little strange. Did you try threatening him?"
"No," Mozzie said. "He was gone too fast, and you know I'm not good with threats! Maybe you could threaten him."
Neal laughed. "Sorry, Moz. Not my strong suit, either. "
"Great, so now what?"
"Call him back. Try to explain things again and stress the parts that benefit him."
"I thought I did," Mozzie said.
"Apparently not enough…"
Neal's plan had a flaw, in that it required Barry to actually answer his phone.
"Now he's dodging me," Mozzie complained.
"Are you a potential business associate, or a stalker?"
"Oh, for crying out loud! I'm telling you, I've had it with Miami. People are such flakes down here."
"So, you're coming home?" Neal asked.
"Soon. I need to cover my expenses, first. Looks like I'll have to stoop to snatching purses from rich old ladies."
"Just make sure they really are rich," Neal said.
"Of course," Mozzie said stiffly. "What do you think I am?"
After three nerve-wracking days, Mozzie was finished and on a plane back to New York. As soon as it landed, he went straight to Neal's loft.
"So, how was it?" Neal asked.
"Sleazy. Low. An insult to every scheme ever concocted anywhere."
"I meant Miami."
"Oh." Mozzie thought for a moment. "Actually, it was very similar."
"Oh, come on," Neal said. "Didn't you have any fun at all? And by that I mean real fun, not gluten-free fun."
"Of course." Mozzie sniffed. "The beaches were lovely."
"You're not even sunburned."
"I took precautions."
"I'll bet," Neal sighed.
"I brought something back," Mozzie said. "The ingredients, anyway, and a recipe. I think you'll like it."
"Key lime pie?" Neal asked hopefully.
"No! Do I look like the kind of guy who would go toe-to-toe with anything that complicated? This is for a cocktail. It's called a mojito. It's very popular."
"I can't wait to try it."
Neal got out cocktail shakers and glasses while Mozzie dug supplies out of his suitcase. The spearmint leaves earned a puzzled frown from Neal, which made the effort of hauling them back from Florida entirely worth it.
"I hope you're not completely sorry you went," Neal said quietly.
"No," Mozzie smiled. Slogging through the snow on the walk from the bus stop to Neal's loft had been enough to remind him of exactly why he'd needed to get away.
Neal reached for Mozzie's written recipe just as Mozzie put the last of his mystery ingredients on the counter. "Limes?" Neal croaked. "And mint? Together?"
"I know, it sounds weird," Mozzie said. "But trust me. Sometimes even the weird stuff comes together in the end. You won't even know how right it is, until it's over."
"Well, you know. January in Florida is still a great idea."
"Absolutely not! That would be ridiculous. But," Mozzie added, "I have a whole year to work on a new set of plans for next time."
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