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19 May 2011 @ 11:25 am
White Collar Fiction: "Easy Money Mirage" (Mozzie, Neal, PG)  
Title: Easy-Money Mirage
Fandom: White Collar (light Xover with Burn Notice)
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Mozzie, Neal, Barry Burkowski (Gen, Humor, Fluff)
Rating: PG
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."

"Go on."

"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."

"You're not—"

"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."

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

cindy: fangirltsuki_no_bara on May 19th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
i'm kind of bummed mozzie and barry didn't have more time together! i think they're just different enough, environmentally, to be really fun. and they're both super paranoid, so i think they'd get each other. if barry would answer his phone, that is.... heee.

so i liked this. :D i mean, it's mozzie! and i always liked barry. and the image of mozzie vacationing in miami, sitting on the beach all covered in sunblock, trying to run a con, makes me giggle.

(i do think neal would've heard of mojitos before this, tho.)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on May 19th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
i'm kind of bummed mozzie and barry didn't have more time together!
I think Barry's super-paranoia was what did him in with Mozzie. He needs to know someone really well (and typically, they need to have something to hold over his head) before he'll work for them.

Mozzie seems so wonderfully out-of-place in Florida (heck, just relaxing in a frivolous setting that it was hard to resist writing that! Plus, it's hard to relax when you're paranoid. You never know who might be watching. :D

i do think neal would've heard of mojitos before this, tho.
They just started becoming popular in California a few years ago, but they're mainly a Cuban drink-- so you can see why they'd have hit Miami first. New York has more of a Puerto Rican influx (whereas the West... not at all!).

But I figured that even if Neal had heard of them, he probably didn't know what was in them (spearmint and lime! Together!). And he'd certainly be kind enough to let Mozzie think he was springing a big surprise on him, especially after a less-than-successful solo adventure. ;)
trystings: Burn Notice - pillowtrystings on May 20th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
This is great! Mozzie and Barry, that's a perfect cocktail. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on May 20th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
Hee! A perfect, crabby, never-taking-their-eyes-off-each-other-for-one-second cocktail. To go. :D \o/
daria234daria234 on May 21st, 2011 03:41 am (UTC)
LOL I bet Mozzie really would complain about Miami :) and I love that Barry and Mozzie are both paranoid

and lol to Barry needing to be threatened and neither Neal nor Moz being the type
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2011 08:09 am (UTC)
I bet Mozzie really would complain about Miami :)

It would always, somehow, be imperfect, and Mozzie wouldn't be able to help noticing, But I can see him deciding that it's worth it, after all.

As for Barry... I remembered that the first few times he worked with Michael, it wasn't because he leaped at the chance but more as if he'd gotten backed into a corner. :0

Thanks for reading!
misura: Burn Notice - three gunsmisura on May 21st, 2011 12:26 pm (UTC)
Meep! For a plotbunny that kept stalling and dodging and running away, this worked out fabulously, although I do apologize for leaving you with it, rather than providing a back-up prompt.

Loved the idea of Mozzie going on a vacation (to the beach, even) and of Barry being so completely dodgy and cagey and not at all eager to hook up with strangers. Neal was lovely in the background (as was Miami) and given the last few lines, I'm quite inclined to view this as the beginning of a lovely friendship. *g*

Thank you very much for having written this for me!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2011 08:21 am (UTC)
It was such a great idea for a story that it seemed to want to be written... and yet, it didn't want to help!

Part of what took so long (other than that crossovers are tricky for me because they have to "make sense" before I can write them) was that I couldn't get Barry to want to cooperate with Mozzie. And then I realized that it was because that's who Barry is-- if you drop some unknown guy on him out of the blue, he'll always be looking for the 'exit.' His first encounter with Michael and Co. was very much the same, and they didn't so much persuade him as find a threat that was sufficiently 'motivating' for him. It's one of the reasons Barry has always cracked me up, and boy does that remind me of Mozzie.

I'm glad this worked for you, and I hope you enjoyed the result! It's surprising how much of a friendship-fic it is, given that Neal and Mozzie are in different places, but they collaborate well after all these years. And Mozzie trying to enjoy a beach was just too incongruous to resist. If he kept at it, I can't help thinking it would eventually win him over.

Thanks so much for the flood donation and the fic inspiration! :)
scarlett_oscarlett_o on May 28th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
I've had this tabbed forever just so I could actually leave feedback. :) Loved this, loved Mozzie.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on May 29th, 2011 07:41 am (UTC)
Yay for your sweet persistence!

I adore Mozzie, and this was such an wonderful situation to put him in. Even when he tries, he can't quite let go of his stiffness, at least not entirely. But that's part of what's so appealing about him, too. :)