The Thickest File
A/N: I have no rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or any characters thereof. Neither do I have any rights to White Collar, or any of the characters thereof. I did not include Elizabeth, because I did not feel a good enough grasp on her character yet, and felt no desire to put out a less perfect version. But, in a lot of ways, she is my favorite from that series.
Peter was surprised to find Neal already there when he arrived at the office that morning.
He was even more surprised to find Neal apparently working. And at a good clip.
In fact, Peter's brow furrowing at the thought, a little too good. Neal wasn't even flipping the files open now. He was just putting them on the desk next to another one, and then back into the box. He decided to see what was up.
"You know you'll have to refile those yourself, right?"
"I figured," Neal flashed his crooked grin at the older man.
"What are you doing with them, then? You don't usually do anything that would require more work."
"Oh, I heard one of the other agents talking about how the thickest files were the most interesting, most successful, and the smartest criminals. So, I've been measuring mine against the others I could find."
"How, exactly, did you get ahold of your own- you know what, I don't want to know."
"Well, so far, I'm winning. So, that must make me the most successful criminal the FBI knows about."
Peter chuckled. "Not even close."
Neal suddenly looked concerned. Far more than he really was, but that was Neal. "Not even close? Who has a bigger file?"
"Come on, I'll show you. Bring your file."
Peter lead the way to his office, a small smile on his face. Once inside, he reached down, opened the bottom drawer on the left, rifled through it, and pulled out a file. Setting it on the desk, he smiled at Neal. "This is the file for Edith, no known last name."
Neal set his own file next to it, and frowned. "Ah, Peter, this isn't as thick as my file."
"Oh, this isn't her file, this is the summary of her file." Neal looked shocked at this information. Peter continued "Her actual file takes up a full shelf in the active cases file room."
"God! What's she do?"
"Better question might be, what doesn't she do? She has a few patterns, but is quite willing to break them at anytime, for any reason at all. Mostly, and it took us over a decade, before there even was a white collar division, to realize she was committing crimes."
"She was playing the stock market, and doing so successfully."
"That - isn't a crime, as far as I know. If it was, most of the stockbrokers would be out of business."
"No, you don't understand. In the 40 years we traced her, she never made a bad choice. Not once. In forty years! And, from some of my own recent research, I think she is following in someone else's footsteps. The records aren't as good once you go back too far, but... there have always been lucky people, but there was another market player in the 20s, 30s, and 40s that did the same. Again, named Edith."
"Edith . . . ?"
"No idea. We've never seen her. Had no contact beyond some hand-written notes. She does everything through notes, sent by a handicapped woman in her early 20s. And, the woman is always brunette, always pretty, and always mentally limited. She communicates with the woman with a walky-talky hidden inside a doll. It's frustrating. Especially since we don't dare to try to question her."
"We've taken in the messenger twice. The first time, she was loopy. Seriously, completely, loopy. It was the 70s, and they thought she might have been high. Before they could hold her that long, though, a lawyer arrived with an order requiring us to release her." Peter then frowned, in his intense way.
"The second time, well, it wasn't so nice. That was the early 90's. Middle of the night, taking her with several other prisoners to Central holding. Never made it. Everyone on the truck, guards and prisoners alike, was killed. Not just killed, horribly killed. Whoever did it, and it was someone outside, evidence showed that clearly, used old-fashioned railroad spikes on the guards, then exsanguinated the other prisoners, before taking the poor girl away. He even had the gall to leave a note - 'Going to Prague. Catch us if you can. WTB' - Cocky bastard."
"Since then, we haven't actually managed to catch her. Edith is less likely to use the messenger, though she still does show up once in a while. Instead, she Fedex's instructions."
"You have no idea. For us, catching the self-titled 'Miss Edith', thats the Holy Grail of white collar work. Or, to use a modern comparison. Catching you was getting a Masters. Catching her? That would be an instant PhD."
Neal shook his head, grabbed his file, and headed out. Ideas were starting to flow through his head.
Peter picked up the summary folder, put it back in the drawer, closed it, and looked through the active cases on the top of the desk. He knew Neal would be considering how to catch Edith - and knew it would be fruitless. He'd tried the same thing, once upon a time. As erratic as Edith's appearances were, Neal wasn't going to have any luck.