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fic: White Collar/Chuck crossover

Title: Be(com)ing Bryce Larkin
Written for: oxoniensis's Porn Battle IX (Dressed to the Nines)
Characters/pairing: Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke, Chuck Bartowski (unnamed)
Warnings/notes: No porn. Which is really kind of the whole point of a porn battle, but ... well. There was this plot that got in the way. And uh stuff.


Neal spends the first ten minutes of the car-ride trying to figure out whether the animals on Peter's tie are supposed to be dogs or cows - the easiest way to find out would be to ask, obviously, only Neal feels he really can't first ask what animals are on Peter's tie and then make a joke about Peter wearing a tie that's got either dogs or cows on it.

He might just guess; there's a fifty-fifty chance he'll get it right, but if he gets it wrong, Peter's going to give him that look that says Neal isn't as smart as he thinks he is and Neal hates getting those kind of looks when he doesn't deserve them (and, okay, he doesn't like it when he does deserve them either).

Black-and-white blob with four legs and a head. Ugly black-and-white blob with four legs and a head.

A cow might have horns, a dog might have a tail. Coffee stains are really hard to get out, if you use enough coffee. It'll probably be impossible to just hit the tie - and it'll have to be cold coffee - but the shirt isn't much, either. Neal can offer to buy Peter a new one, along with a new tie.

Could it be cats? Cats could be black and white, too, and that restaurant he's seeing through the car window isn't one they usually pass on their way to the office.

"Where are we going?"

"You'll see," Peter says.

A proper cat should have a tail, too. Three-in-one odds aren't good. Peter's tense. "Eventually. You could also just tell me now."

Peter stops in front of a yellow traffic-light. Neal tries to figure out from the way Peter's drumming his fingers on the wheel and not looking at him whether Peter's mood is because of him (in which case quick talking and a revision of the Tie Elimination ploy are in order) or in spite of him (because Neal takes pride in being good company, if he wants to be and with Peter, that's close to most of the time).

The light turns green and Peter glances at him. He only starts talking when his eyes are on the road again, though. "We're going to see someone about something."

"Right," Neal says. "The guy in the place, huh?"

"I didn't say it was a guy."

"Neither did I."

"Well, you were right." Peter is clearly not listening to Neal. It's an experience Neal doesn't particularly care for, although it's sort of nice to realize how novel it is. "It's a guy, and he can probably help us crack this case, and if anyone at the office asks where we were, then we're late because you overslept."

Neal thinks it's probably a really bad idea to be doing something Peter isn't comfortable having the rest of the team know about. It might be something slightly illegal. He'll get in more trouble than Peter will if anyone finds out. Peter is an FBI-agent, after all.

"I've never been late for work because I overslept in my life."

Peter gives him a level look.

Neal decides he could get out of the car now, maybe head for the office on his own, tell them Peter's late because of a plumbing problem (people usually want details, unless he gets there at noon, just before the lunchbreak). Let Peter go to the meeting by himself.

"I'm just saying it's a bad cover," Neal says.

Peter considers for a moment, and Neal feels a slight thrill as he recognizes the expression on Peter's face. It tells him that Peter needs him for something and is now thinking about the best way to get him to do it.

"You think you can do better, feel free," Peter says. "You've got about five minutes, plus the twenty minutes we'll need to get to the office."

"Where are we going, anyway?"

*

A glass and steel building - a bit too expensive for a simple informer, Neal judges. Not that he's any kind of expert. They take the stairs to the fourteenth floor, in spite of there being an elevator (conclusion: there are security cameras pointed at the elevator but not at the stairs. Amateurs.)

They walk through a hallway, turn left, right, right and left again. The halls are well-lit. There are no sounds coming through any of the doors they pass, and they don't meet anyone on the way. Peter's face has gone very neutral, but his shoulders are still tense.

"In here," Peter says, adding, just before he opens the door: "I need you to talk him into helping us."

Neal would be feeling several kinds of flattered if Peter'd made that ... request a bit earlier, like when they were still in the car. Or trudging up the stairs. (He might not have been the only one panting by the time they'd reached the fourteenth floor, then.) As it is, he sincerely tries to feel flattered.

He walks into the room. There's an oval table, several chairs, a faint smell of lemon, and a guy Neal's never seen before, who smiles hesitantly (nervously?) at Peter, before he spots Neal.

"Bryce?"

The guy looks at Neal. Neals looks at Peter. Peter looks at the wall on the other side of the room. If that's supposed to be a hint along the lines of 'yeah, I told him your name was Bryce and that you wanted to buy his fake Picasso', Neal doesn't get it.

Neal is good. He's amazing at what he does, and he knows it, and Peter knows it, but being a great con doesn't mean you can just convince a random stranger to help you. Neal does research for his job. He studies people, learns what they like, how they think.

With Peter being so utterly unhelpful, Neal turns his attention back to the guy. Clearly, he's expected to say something. The guy's eyes keep flickering to Neal's face and away again.

"It's the hat," Neal says. "Makes it a bit harder to recognize me, I guess."

He sounds relaxed. He looks relaxed, too, he knows. He's gambling, based half on instinct and half on the face thing.

"You're really impossible to kill, aren't you?" The guy chuckles, but it sounds slightly hysterical, and Neal wonders if maybe Peter's trying to act like he isn't here because he's here to play bodyguard, instead of merely to be unhelpful.

"It's a gift," he says and then, because there's nothing particularly enjoyable about this situation: "I need your help."

He gets another look that's a bit too emotional for his tastes, but then Peter steps away from the wall, coming to stand next to him, hand reaching into a pocket of his jacket. "Actually, we need your help."

It sounds like he's gently correcting Neal, like he's used to doing things like that.

"And you would be ... ?"

"His partner," Peter says. Neal's going to play poker with him one of these days. He thinks he might lose, and he can't recall the last time he lost at poker without intending to. "FBI."

"Oh." The guy looks from Neal to Peter, and back again. "Oh," he says again. "That's uh - sure. I mean, if I can. I mean, we're all on the same side, right? NSA, CIA ... FBI." He doesn't sound entirely certain.

"Absolutely," Peter says. "And, of course, we've filed an official request for your assistance. It's all perfectly above board." Which is why Peter wants to keep this a secret, presumably. Because there's absolutely not going to be any trouble when anyone else finds out about this meeting.

"Oh. Good. All right then, what can I do for you?"

Peter places three pictures on the table. Neal recognizes two of them as paintings that were stolen recently in the case they've been working on for the past three weeks.

Five minutes later, they've got a name and several locations, and Neal's started working on a convincing story to explain their being late for work.

*

"What do the CIA and the NSA have in common that the FBI doesn't have?"

Neal feels he should be having this conversation with Peter, but Peter has made it clear he doesn't want to talk about that morning, and while Neal has no intention of letting him get off so easily (especially after Neal's tale of Peter's plumbing-woes was such a smash-hit), for the moment, he's backed off. He'll try for an ambush later this week.

He's also going to have to find something to bribe Elizabeth with to do something about that tie, probably, unless Peter suddenly changes his mind about not wanting Neal to be present at whatever meeting he supposedly has for the rest of the afternoon.

"International operations?" Jones suggests.

"Black ops."

"Spies?"

Neal toys with a pencil, thinking.

*

"The Intersect," Mozzie tells him.

"The Intersect," Neal repeats. The word doesn't mean anything to him. "What's the Intersect?"

"A really stupid idea." Mozzie sips his tea, while Neal does his best not to look impatient. "Basically, it's a computer that contains all the secret files of the CIA and the NSA. The really hot stuff. Not very interesting to people like you and me."

If Mozzie's taught Neal one thing, it's that information is never useless. "The really hot stuff."

"Slit your own throat before reading - or they'll send someone to come and do it for you."

"It's a computer?" There were no computers in the room where they met the guy whose name Neal still doesn't know.

"Used to be. Funny story." Mozzie doesn't look or sound at all amused. "Word is that some rogue agent named Bryce Larkin managed to download the whole thing somehow, and then sent it to someone. By e-mail."

"Bryce Larkin?"

Mozzie sighs and puts down his cup of tea. "Are we having a conversation here, or are you just going to repeat a part of what I'm telling you every now and then?"

"It's - " Neal starts when his cellphone rings. The number on display is Elizabeth's. "Sorry. I should probably take this."

"Go ahead." Mozzie makes a dismissive gesture.

"I added question-marks, you know." Peter's not pretending to be with the FBI; he is with FBI. Neal isn't Bryce though, and he's definitely not with the CIA or NSA, let alone a rogue agent. "Hi, Elizabeth. If Peter's in the room with you, could you get him to leave? I'd really like you to help me get rid of one of his ties again."

Mozzie grimaces. Neal waggles his eyebrows at him, then frowns. "No, he's not with me. As far as I know, he went home straight after work - around six."

It's close to ten now. Peter should have been home hours ago. "I'm sure he's fine."

Mozzie is shaking his head. "Will you call me when he shows up? After you're done scolding him for making you worry, of course." Neal chuckles. The way he doesn't quite seem to be able to make it sound convincing is annoying. He's supposed to be better at this. And Peter's supposed to be home.

Things rarely happen the way they're supposed to. Neal knows that, of course. He was never supposed to spend four years in prison, or become a consultant to the FBI.

" 'I'm sure he's fine'," Mozzie says. "What kind of amateur uses a line like that? Unless you wanted her to worry, in which case it's still a lousy line."

"Peter might be in trouble."

"One, not your problem," Mozzie replies. "Two, nothing you can do about it if he is. Three, still not your problem. And it's definitely not mine, either." Neal gives him a look conveying the great love he bears Mozzie and the deep, deep pain he experiences at Mozzie's refusal to help him. It's never worked on anyone he's used it on, but often, it seems to make people smile, puts them at ease just enough to lower their guard and let Neal turn their 'no' into a 'maybe'.

"I think someone might think Peter knows something about the Intersect." It's a slim lead - based almost entirely on some guy calling Neal 'Bryce' and mentioning three alphabet agencies in one breath, but Neal's always prefered to be moving and thinking at the same time, and he's not going to be of any help to Peter by just sitting here or at home and worrying.

"That's not so great," Mozzie says.

"Slit your own throat before reading - or they'll send someone to come and do it for you."

Neal swallows. "I need your help."

"To do what?" Mozzie's tone is not unsympathetic, although Neal hears a hint of annoyance in it, to disguise something else - regret, perhaps. "I told you, Neal: not the kind of information that's interesting to people like you and me. Your name probably isn't even in the damn Intersect, thanks to the FBI backing out at the last minute."

"I need to find Peter," Neal says.

*

... And that's all I got. There uh might be a second chapter sequel-ish thingy.

read first sidestory next
skip sidestory and proceed to second chapter

Comments

( 33 flourishes — Tell me stories )
klutzy_girl
Jan. 31st, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Yay, I've been waiting for a crossover like this!

This is awesome. I hope there's a sequel.
misura
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:20 am (UTC)
Um, well, I kind of hoped someone else would write this crossover. *g*

This was rather fun to write though; good to hear you enjoyed reading it, too.
ohioala19
Jan. 31st, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
this is awesome! i hope you add more!
misura
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm fairly sure I will um, at some point.
talitha78
Jan. 31st, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, I've been hoping someone would tackle this crossover. Yay! I'd love to read more.
misura
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:23 am (UTC)
So have I - I'd just rather hoped it wouldn't be me. (Oh well, it's not as if me having dabbled means nobody else can.)

Glad to hear you enjoyed this enough to want more!
jebbypal
Jan. 31st, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
This looks fun. And I could so see Chuck and Neal bonding over having agents babysit them once the whole Bryce debacle is ironed out.

And can you imagine Casey having to herd both Chuck and Neal?

*feeds your bunny*
misura
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:29 am (UTC)
I think ... Neal would be a terrible influence on Chuck. *makes notes* Chuck, reversely, might have an interesting influence on Neal - or none at all; I'm not quite sure there.

Casey - I haven't quite imagined that, but I have imagined him and Peter not-bonding. And I actually think Peter and Chuck might get along pretty well.

Much obliged for the carrots! *g*
speccygeekgrrl
Jan. 31st, 2010 10:54 pm (UTC)
Bwaaaaaah, this is INCREDIBLE. You have a dedicated reader should you decide to continue!
misura
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
Eep. Thank you! ^_^
gallopingmare
Jan. 31st, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
This was great- and...there can't be a "might be sequel" there MUST be a sequel!!!

Looking forward to more~
misura
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:31 am (UTC)
Thank you, I uh - well, I do have a plot, so I guess it would be a pity not to use it?
alkja
Feb. 1st, 2010 08:31 am (UTC)
This crossover had to happen and it's shaping up to be really good. You absolutely have to write more. Great Neal voice, you totally nailed the character: love his tie-destroying plotting and supremely unfazed ability to con on the fly!
misura
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! Neal was oodles of fun to write, so I'm delighted he was fun to read, too.
calligraphe
Feb. 3rd, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
So glad I found this
I was floating around on Delicious today, which went something like, "Hey, White Collar is awesome--Chuck is aweso--I wonder--HOLY CRAP SOMEBODY DID IT HOLY CRAP, AWESOME."

And then I read it and it was everything it ought to be AND MORE. I love this. I love your Neal-POV. There must be more, I humbly implore you. With hearts in my eyes.
misura
Feb. 5th, 2010 06:57 am (UTC)
Re: So glad I found this
Given that this thing seems to have a plot now, I er do suppose it'd be a pity not to do anything with it. *g* Plus, people actually seem to like it, and I think I'd rather like writing more so ...

Thank you very much for your enthusiastic comment! I hope I can fulfill your expectations.
calligraphe
Feb. 5th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
Re: So glad I found this
Heck yeah! *fist pump*

(Oh, don't worry about our expectations. You're already awesome by default. Just have fun with it!)
oxoniensis
Feb. 7th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was awesome! I so loved the whole thing with the ties, and Mozzie's disdain towards the Intersect, and the entire premise! And I have to add my pleas to the clamour for more!
misura
Feb. 9th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
Personally, I'm almost convinced Mozzie has made several attempts to hack the Intersect or get at it somehow - after a few times, he gave up though and convinced himself he didn't really want the information anyway.

My first thought when I saw you'd commented: uh-oh, someone's here to kick my ass for the total lack of porn. Why, yes, I do believe my conscience is stabbing me a bit about that.

I don't think Peter's worn any ties that were actually truly horrible on the show yet, but I believe in artistic license and taking a few liberties. *g*
oxoniensis
Feb. 10th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
My first thought when I saw you'd commented: uh-oh, someone's here to kick my ass for the total lack of porn. Why, yes, I do believe my conscience is stabbing me a bit about that.

Don't tell anyone, but I'm not that big on porn - I'd way rather have plot! So I have no qualms about turning a blind eye! *g*
daria234
Feb. 14th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
Love this - I really like sneaky!Peter :)

This is suspenseful, and I really like the way you set it up with information revealed at a nice pace, plus the little insights into how Neal thinks.
misura
Feb. 15th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
Whew - glad to hear it didn't feel like too much of an information-dump; I wasn't quite sure how well that conversation between Mozzie and Neal had turned out.

Peter can be very sneaky, although, of course, Neal's no novice himself. (And let's not even get started on Bryce.) *g*
daria234
Feb. 15th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
LOL, in fic the sneakiest men are also the sexiest.

So... you're continuing this fic, yes?

*pretends to be subtle and fails*
misura
Feb. 18th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
If Mrs Plotbunny can finally make up her mind as to just how sneaky everyone involved will get to be, I'm pretty sure I couldn't not continue this fic.

... Er, that is to say: I'll probably write more. It's that kind of plotbunny, I'm afraid. (Plans for the weekend? What plans for the weekend? You're staying right where you are and write, missy.)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 16th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
Coming in late to say -
- You *can't* leave it there, with poor Peter in trouble and Neal having uneasy thoughts about that and about someone else running around with his face and what about Bryce? is he actually, really, totally dead in this 'verse? - 'coz if not he'll sure want to know about his Doppleganger, too.

So. Yes. Another very loud, arm-waving vote to Continue This Story.

Please.
misura
Feb. 18th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Coming in late to say -
I don't want to spoil anything, but I do want to say that I consider myself incapable of writing a fic wherein Bryce Larkin is actually, really, totally dead. Given that this plotbunny has grown some mean teeth, you'll probably see him at some point (if you haven't already).

So. There will be more, and I hope it won't disappoint.

Thanks for the added incentive!
hoosierbitch
Feb. 21st, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, I really enjoyed this! *fingers crossed for a sequel*
misura
Feb. 21st, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And wow - that's some uh interesting timing. *g*

You can uncross your fingers now.
galindaxxxx
Feb. 24th, 2010 06:16 am (UTC)
I love it! I'm going on to the other posted parts now! :D
misura
Feb. 24th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you - and I hope you'll enjoy those, too! :)
dracofiend
Jun. 7th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
omg I LOVE this! Finally started reading this after getting HUGELY into Chuck (and Chuck/Casey, heh) and am super excited to read the rest!! I love the dialogue in this part--everyone sounds totally true to character! :D
misura
Jun. 7th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
Where on Earth did you get that adorable icon? It's all um adorable and stuff.

Happy to find another Chuck fan on my f-list, and happy to hear you enjoyed this. (Given I'm about to wrap this series up, you sure picked an opportune time to jump in. *g*)
dracofiend
Jun. 7th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
:D I know, isn't it fun?? It's by niccolite! ooh, I can't wait for the final installment! :D
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