Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or White Collar. Written for fun, not profit.
Author's notes: After this week's episode of WC (I might have sniffled a little at Mozzie's pretend origin story), I couldn't resist a Mozzie-focused ficlet. Written for twistedshorts August Fic-A-Day.o)O(o
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Neal moved aside, gesturing the man into the room—not that Mozzie needed an invitation, as he spent enough time at June's, with or without Neal's company, to practically be considered a roommate. Still, Neal knew his old friend well enough to see the distress on his face. It was odd how familiar that expression was becoming of late; Mozzie, it appeared, was in trouble. Again. Or, at least, he thought
he was in trouble, which might be just as bad. One never really knew for certain.
"Good morning to you, too, Mozzie," Neal said, just barely stifling a yawn. He closed the door behind them, loosely tugged up his silk pajama bottoms, and watched the shorter man, practically vibrating with anxiety, shuffle to the table. "You know, I always said Shakespeare was more entertaining at 7a.m. on a Sunday morning. Is there a reason for the Hamlet
audition, or are you simply here for breakfast? Because you know June enjoys brunch on weekends…"
Mozzie pulled the hard file case out from under his arm and carefully sat it on the table, as if might explode. Then he pushed himself back in the chair, away from it—at which point Neal really hoped his observation was only conjecture. June would not appreciate an explosion, no matter what the size.
"I've uncovered something big. And old. Ancient even." Mozzie stared at the case. Sweat smudged the thick lenses of his glasses, drawing attention to the purple bags under his eyes. "And they know
. They were tailing me all night, but I finally lost them around dawn. It's only a matter of time before they catch up, though."
"So, you didn't sleep last night?" Neal clarified.
Mozzie shot him a pointed glance. "This is serious, Neal!" He paused, taking a breath to calm himself. "I received word of some very interesting items shipping out of New York recently and thought it might possibly be in our…future interests," he paused, giving a sheepish frown, "to look for details. It turned out, several vaults were being emptied of odd treasures that hadn't been moved for decades—artworks, which have been privately owned for centuries, strange antique weapons, rare books…A virtual goldmine. Only the vaults belonged to different people and were all located at different estates—none of which had been visited by more than groundskeepers for years—but all the valuables were being shipped to the same location in Scotland. Almost as if the same person had owned multiple properties under multiple IDs in the States."
Neal raised a brow. Now that sounded like something Peter would be interested in hearing about. "I'm intrigued."
"As was I." Mozzie shook his head, regret painting his features. "I should have backed out as soon as I spotted the name, but I couldn't… You know how I can't resist cracking open secret organizations."
Neal sighed and pulled out a chair across from his friend and the case. "Alright, Mozzie. I'll bite. What's in the case? And who's after you?"
'," Mozzie mocked, rolling his eyes. "You've been spending too much time with the Suit, I say." He huffed. "Neal, have you ever heard of the organization known as The Watcher Council of Britain?"
"Should I know them?"
Mozzie shrugged. "Well, you've actually stolen a piece from—nevermind, that's beside the point. The Watcher Council of Britain has went by many names throughout the years but is known in most circles as simply 'The Council'—or, at least, it was until its headquarters was bombed about eight years ago."
Neal's eyes widened. "Bombed?" Now he was really worried about the file case. "Uh—what exactly did this 'council' do?"
Mozzie snorted. "What do secret organizations usually do? They make things happen,
Neal. Very strange things. This group is very cloak and dagger—as in literally cloak and dagger, that's how old they are.
And massive emphasis on the dagger
Neal frowned. "Right," he breathed, doubtful. "What does this have to do with the valuables being shipped out of New York?"
"Ah!" Mozzie raised a finger to indicate he was getting there. "As one might have expected, The Council appeared to have disbanded after most of its members…well, they blew up. However, there's been rumor of the recent rise of a group known simply as the ISO. And, get this, all signs say that the remaining members of The Council make up the ISO."
"What's ISO stand for?"
Mozzie raised a brow. "A good question indeed." But he didn't provide an answer. "Remember how I said those vaults were all owned by different people? It turns out all those people were very real. In fact, they were all heads of the old Council. And the valuables, what remains of their wealth, are now being sent to, you guessed it, the new headquarters for the ISO."
Neal nodded. Then stopped. "Okay—I see the mystery here. But it sounds like you figured out why the items were being shipped out. So…Why do you think you're being followed?"
"Because I dug too deep." Mozzie reached out, laying a hand on the case. "I…I was warned to stop digging if I didn't want to be involved. But I didn't listen. It was just too compelling…At first, I thought it couldn't be true. Surely, if it were
true, more people would know, right? But, just like every great conspiracy, it's been covered up over the centuries. This, Neal…This is the greatest of the grand conspiracies."
"Bigger than the Paul McCartney lookalike of '66?"
Mozzie pouted. "Now you're just teasing."
Neal bit down his smirk. "Sorry, sorry…But, seriously, Mozzie, would you just spit it out? What did you find?"
"To quote Elbert Hubbard..." Mozzie swallowed, hard "…'The supernatural is the natural not yet discovered.' Never was he so right. Neal, what do you know of the 'otherworldly'? Specifically, the dark unknown? Or, in laymen's terms, evil? True evil?"
Neal chuckled. "What happened to, 'The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary—' It sounds as if you're about to tell me you've discovered demons were real…"
Mozzie waved a hand to stop him. "I know! I know—you don't have to throw a quote back in my face. I know it sounds unbelievable. But, what I found, investigating into the ISO was…" He paused, licking his lips, then tapped the case once. "It's all in here. If you read this, you'll understand."
Neal shook his head. This was odd, even by Mozzie's standards.
A knock at the door sounded and Mozzie stiffened, eyes widening to saucer-status. "Oh God…They've found me already…"
Neal stood up. "I'm sure that's only Peter—he has an uncanny ability to ruin my Sunday mornings. Much like you… Seriously, Mozzie, if this is some sort of joke, it's not amusing."
He opened the door to find it wasn't an FBI agent on the other side. He raised his brow in appreciation. "You're not Peter," he said, grinning charmingly.
It was a young woman on the other side. Tall, leggy, her long, light brown hair curled at the ends and hanging over the shoulder of her red blouse: she smiled up at him politely, stealing his eyes with her bright cherry lips. "And you're not Mozzie," she returned. She let her own gaze roam his bare chest a split second before her cheek twitched with amusement. "Which I'm kinda seeing as a good thing right now…"
"Neal Caffrey," he introduced. "Can I help you?"
Neal, by all rights, had expected his friend to slip away, find one of the hiding spots in the room while he distracted the girl, but before the young woman could continue, he felt hand grab his arm and pull him back.
"He knows nothing," Mozzie announced, stepping in front of Neal protectively, the file case held under his arm once more. "I'm the one you're looking for. But you should know, if I go missing, there are copies planted all over—"
Dawn, as the woman had introduced herself, raised a hand to stop him. "Actually, no you haven't. You have one copy. The copy we allowed you to have. And you will return it now, or we'll be forced terminate this…relationship."
Neal felt the tension in the air and began to worry—maybe Mozzie was right. Maybe he was in danger. He shot a glance at his bedside table, where his phone lay, useless from this far away. Now would be a really good time for Peter to ruin the weekend…
She reached out, snapping her fingers and gesturing for the case. Mozzie huffed and pushed it into her hands. "Fine," he snapped. "But you can't take my brain with you."
Dawn smiled dangerously. "We're aware," she noted, and reached down into the purse at her side.
Neal held his breath, but when she pulled her fingers back out, they held a crisp white card, not a weapon. She offered it to Mozzie with a tilt of her head. "As we tried to tell you earlier, the ISO is interested in your…various talents, Mr. Mozzie. Especially since you now know so much about what we do. Which is why we asked you to sign this non-disclosure agreement in the first place. If you have any further questions, feel free to give us a call." Her professional stance wavered a moment, and she rolled her eyes. "And, please, stop running every time you see one of us—at least not when I'm the one sent after you. I'm in heels, dork."
"Non-disclosure?" Neal muttered, brow wrinkled. "Mozzie, did you sign some sort of agreement to—"
"Not tell a soul what I found? Yeah." Mozzie frowned. No, it wasn't a frown. It was a pout.
"Just my luck, too…Finally discover the truth about the mother of all secret organizations, and I end up becoming part of it." He stared at the woman. "But I don't think your spell worked—I nearly told Neal everything."
Dawn snickered. "No, you didn't. But it's cute that you think you could have. Just remember, 'A careless word might kindle strife.' So, pick 'em carefully." She stepped back, out of the doorway. "We'll be in touch about those sources you have in Belize—have a nice weekend!"
Mozzie slammed the door behind her, huffing in frustration.
Neal shook his head. "Did you say 'spell'
Mozzie groaned. "I'd explain it, but, as a wise man in Cleveland once said, 'it's just not worth the boils, man'…"