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07 July 2011 @ 04:58 pm
White Collar Fiction: "A Soft Place To Land" (Mozzie, Neal, PG)  
Title: A Soft Place To Land
Fandom: White Collar
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Mozzie, Neal (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: An interlude between 2x09 ("Point Blank") and 2x10 ("Burke's Seven"). True friends are always there to help.
Author's Notes: My last Australian Flood Auction story for wraithkeeper, who wanted some Mozzie and Neal friendship. I hope this pleases you!
Also for writers_choice ("Moving on").

x-x-x-x-x

On the last day of Mozzie's hospital stay, Neal showed up at his room with a rented wheelchair and a spare button-down shirt.

"Ready to get out of here?"

"You have no idea," Mozzie said. "But I still don't know how they think I'm going to look after myself for the next few days. I've never tried to use a train or a bus in a wheelchair, and there's no running water at my facility. I suppose I could check myself into a hotel, but they're terribly expensive."

"June agreed to let you stay at her place, until you're ready to manage on your own."

Wow. Mozzie was stunned by generosity of the offer. It was completely unexpected. He couldn’t believe Neal and June had—

Wait... He frowned, as reality set in. "What about all those stairs?"

"The bottom floor is pretty flat," Neal said, "and there's a guest bedroom behind the den."

"Oh." Mozzie felt something hopeful flicker inside him. "Well. I guess that would be okay."

After a ridiculously long checkout procedure involving several reams' worth of paperwork, he and Neal finally arrived at June's three hours later. They successfully navigated the entrance, with Neal backing Mozzie and the wheelchair all the way up the entrance stairs. It made Mozzie nervous, but it worked. Neal managed to get Mozzie inside without dropping him.

By then, Mozzie was exhausted. How could he be so tired, when he'd been sitting around all morning? He followed Neal back to the bedroom June had set aside for him, and squirmed his way out of the chair and onto the bed. He fell asleep without even trying.

He woke up a few hours later, groggy and disoriented. A glimpse of the wheelchair reminded him where he was and why. He got up to test his legs, and found that he needed the wheelchair after all. After settling himself into it, he rolled out to the sitting room, where Neal was leafing through a book.

"How long did the doctor say I'd need this thing, again?" Mozzie asked.

"A few days, probably, until you get some strength back." Neal looked over at him. "You probably wouldn't have needed it at all, if you'd stayed at the hospital longer."

"And let them kill me in my sleep?"

Neal blinked. "No, of course not." He set the book on the table. "So, are you hungry?"

"I'm starving. Hospital food is terrible—it smells like a supply closet. Did you know Mrs. Suit brought me brownies at the hospital?"

"Gluten-free," Neal commented.

"She's wonderful," Mozzie said. "Do you suppose the Suit knows?"

"That his wife is wonderful? I'm sure he has some idea…"

"Oh. Yes, of course." Mozzie's stomach growled, refocusing his attention. "So, what were you going to make me?"

"Herbed feta-cheese omelette?" Neal suggested. "Toast points with salmon mousse? Pistachio-crusted chicken piccatta?"

Mozzie frowned, suddenly forlorn. He usually enjoyed all of those things (honestly, he did), but he just wasn't up to playing that game today. "I don't suppose June has any tomato soup? From a can?"

Neal smiled at him, forgivingly. "I'll see what I can do," he said. "Just rest."

Hard to avoid it, when I can barely stay awake, Mozzie thought.

Mozzie rolled around June's parlor, looking at the sculptures and paintings, while Neal worked in the kitchen. "We can't just do this upstairs?" Mozzie called out.

"Not until you can walk up and down all those stairs yourself," Neal answered, "and do it safely."

Clearly, his recovery was going to take forever, Mozzie thought. He had patience (you couldn't pull off a decent con without patience), but this was different. Being unable to come and go on his own was suffocating, worse than the time he was seven and missed his first-ever trip to the Museum of Natural History, just because he had the mumps.

The boredom would probably kill him—even with June's art books and whatever he could borrow from Neal. He wished he had his computer with him, or the materials he was using to learn the basics of the actuarial trade. A person could go insane without some kind of project, especially when he'd been shot for no good reason.

"It's ready," Neal called.

Mozzie wheeled into the kitchen, where saltines and a bowl of soup waited. Neal had moved the chairs back to create an opening for him at the table. It all suddenly looked absolutely heavenly.

"Smells good," Mozzie said, fitting his chair under the table. He couldn't resist trying a few spoonfuls of the soup by itself before crumbling up the saltines over the top and eating in earnest.

Better, he thought, as his stomach quieted. Maybe he didn't have to take on the full weight of his recovery right now. The details could wait.

He almost made himself believe it.

Neal pulled up a chair next to him, and sat. "So, what have you got planned for later this week?" he asked.

Mozzie snorted. "Does it matter?" He couldn't even leave the house by himself.

"Peter's in trouble," Neal said, and waited.

Somewhere underneath the frustration and fatigue, Mozzie felt his curiosity begin to stir.

"Go on," he said."I'm listening."


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

 
 
 
nrrrdy_grrrl on July 8th, 2011 01:30 am (UTC)
I AM SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLING!!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 8th, 2011 03:52 am (UTC)
:D I can never remember if White Collar is one of the shows you hate or love. :D

This was the story that I couldn't seem to stay away from, even though it had an immediate beginning and no clear ending up until yesterday. I've been poking at it for over a month!

But, in the end, it was worth it. :)
nrrrdy_grrrl on July 8th, 2011 12:07 pm (UTC)
I don't get it about pairing Peter and The Other Guy, but youb write like a dream, so I read happily.

Having said that, I have officially switched my vision of Ian Somerhalder as Nightwing to Matt Bomer. Alert the media!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 8th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
I don't get it about pairing Peter and The Other Guy
I see the hotness in the pairing (and the capability for them to be attracted to each other that way), but I like Peter's wife too much to want to go there, myself. Lots of people find ways to make it work, but so far, not me.

I'm glad you gave this a try, and thank you for your sweet words!
nrrrdy_grrrl on July 8th, 2011 05:10 pm (UTC)
Elizabeth- is that his wife's name? I really like her. It's interesting to me that I see a LOT of WC with a threesome from writers who are usually strictly slashers. I think a lot of folks just dig her. It makes me giggle that the actress whp plays her used to be on Beverly Hills 90210 back in the day.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 8th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
I like her too, and her relationship with Peter. I can't do the threesome thing at all, because even if it's not violating one of my OTPs, it just seems like a poor (and unrealistic) choice for a couple like El&Peter, who have so much going for them.

All of my fics for WC are gen, and there are a few other Mozzie-centered ones I think you'd like (on the Other Fic page).

Wasn't Tiffany Thiesen on Baywatch at one time? Or am I confused? I didn't watch that or 90210, so it's all guesswork to me. ;)
nrrrdy_grrrl on July 8th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
God, how long will our pop culture continue to be cluttered with Baywatch refugees????
cindy: wc - matt&timtsuki_no_bara on July 8th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
i bet mozzie is a TERRIBLE invalid - he's usually so self-reliant (and paranoid about anyone getting into any of his business) that being stuck in a wheelchair and depending on other people would be torture. but of course neal is looking after him, because neal is his friend and neal loves him. :D

"And let them kill me in my sleep?" cracked me up. it's such a mozzie thing to say. and i love that he can be distracted with an fbi case.

(and yes, moz, the suit knows his wife is wonderful.)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 8th, 2011 05:25 am (UTC)
i bet mozzie is a TERRIBLE invalid

Me too. Just not being able to bolt at a moment's notice would be hard enough for him!

Neal is very thoughtful, honestly, and not only is he taking care of Mozzie here but he's about to do the same for Peter. Peter just doesn't know it yet. :)
nrrrdy_grrrl on July 8th, 2011 12:07 pm (UTC)
PS Yes your Mozzy!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 8th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
Hee! Thank you! I adore Mozzie, and his voice is just so vivid to me. He's really the easiest character for me to write. :)
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: White Collar - Nealembroiderama on July 8th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
I love Mozzie's POV here and the way it's clear how much Neal cares.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 8th, 2011 05:43 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I imagine Mozzie is not an easy person to pamper, but in a roundabout way, Neal does what he can. Even when it means forsaking haute cuisine for Campbell's soup. :)
the key of the day and the lock of the night: WhiteCollarReadlocknkey on July 8th, 2011 06:18 am (UTC)
Great Mozzie voice and I loved the little glimpse into Neal and Mozzie's relationship. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 8th, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you got a chance to read this one. Ah, Mozzie and Neal and their friendship-- I so love it, and all the weird little quirks that go with it. :)
O: White Collar: Neal/Saraozqueen on July 8th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was adorable. :D I think you got Mozzie's voice down-pat, and I love that Neal was so patient and didn't bat an eyelid at the things he came out with. ;) Great job! :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 8th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm so glad you liked it!

I think if Neal's conning skills have lent anything to his regular life, it's the ability to take the outrageous in stride. And I suspect he's heard a lot stranger things from Mozzie in the past.

Thanks for reading!
daria234daria234 on July 8th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
delightful friendship fic :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 10th, 2011 06:30 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)
damietta on July 9th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
Tomato soup from a can has magic powers when you are sick or not feeling well; great addition here. Love Neal being so patient with Mozzie's many moods; the test of true friendship even amongst cons.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 10th, 2011 07:08 am (UTC)
Glad you noticed that detail-- when you're really ill, I think complexity feels demanding. Simplicity is comfort all by itself.

I love the glimpses we get of Neal and Mozzie's friendship, and their patience with each other's quirks and weaknesses.

Thanks for reading and commenting!
sg_labsg_lab on July 9th, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
Awww. Loved it. I always like a good Neal, Mozzie fic.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 10th, 2011 07:09 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I always like a good Neal, Mozzie fic.
Oh, me too. Those two together, hatching their schemes, just totally crack me up. :)
getting the chocolate in the peanut butter: whitecollar: mozzie and nealdotfic on July 9th, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC)
Aw, Neal & Mozzie! I love their friendship.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 10th, 2011 07:10 am (UTC)
Me, too! They are so much fun together. :)
Sholio: WhiteCollar-Neal sidelightsholio on July 10th, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
This was really neat; I loved this peek at their friendship. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 11th, 2011 04:47 am (UTC)
Thank you! They have such an interesting relationship, less oddball than you'd expect. And they certainly know each other's idiosyncracies well!
wraithkeeper: serifwraithkeeper on July 25th, 2011 05:03 am (UTC)
I love this! It's lucky for Mozzie that he has a case to focus on, or he would totally go stir-crazy. I can't see him as being an easy patient!

"And let them kill me in my sleep?"

This line is brilliant and so perfectly Mozzie!

Thank you for this perfect fic! I'm so lucky to get not one, but TWO amazing fics!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on July 27th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed this!

I couldn't resist writing the aftermath of Mozzie getting out of the hospital, especially when you know he'd probably want out too early and that he doesn't have a good setup for taking care of himself when things are not at their optimum. I mean really, a storage locker as a regular residence? I'm not sure being off the government's radar is worth those kinds of extremes. :0

I hope this suited your idea of a friendship fic for these two. I've written them out on their adventures here and there, but this story just would not leave me alone, and it's a whole different kind of bonding.

Thanks so much for bidding on me for charity, and being so generous with your money and your patience in waiting for these stories! ♥