Frith (frith_in_thorns) wrote,

[fic: white collar] Enemies

Title: Enemies
Characters/Pairing: Mozzie, Neal, Peter; Gen
Rating: T
Word count: 5000
Content Notes: Non-consensual drug use, depictions of anxiety and paranoia
Other Notes: This fills the "tyranny/rebellion" square of my hc_bingo card, which is the LAST square. Now I have achieved a blackout and will never need to write hurt/comfort again! Totally.
Thank you to sholio for the helpful advice!

Summary: When you can't tell friend from foe, the person to seek help from is the one who trusts nobody.


Mozzie was proud to maintain what he considered to be a healthy level of paranoia. Other people might scoff at his security features, his reluctance to hand over information, but he had learned to rise above such mockery. Time and again he was vindicated when the news channels filled with fresh scandals of domestic spying. The government was out to get everyone; that had been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt.

The only question was when and where. And Mozzie intended to put off receiving answers on his own behalf for as long as possible.

Take the safehouse he was currently entering, for instance. It had been specifically chosen for a lack of CCTV and traffic cameras along multiple routes to its location, and it had been acquired using shell alias inside shell alias and an untraceable bank transfer. One could say that was a lot of effort to go to for a fairly unremarkable basement apartment in an equally unremarkable red brick building, but Mozzie knew better.

And the evidence that it had recently been broken into was a confirmation of that.

The two locks had been neatly picked, and obviously the alarm inside had been disabled as he couldn't hear it shrieking. However, the chain which could only be attached from the outside was hanging loose. Which potentially meant that the intruder was waiting within to ambush him.

He might dislike violence, but Mozzie was nonetheless prepared for its eventuality. He had a tiny pocket-cannister of mace to hand, and he drew it out before turning the handle slowly and easing the door open. He entered as quietly as possible.

It was dim inside, lit by only the natural light from the small windows. And they never got direct sun anyway. He looked cautiously around the room…

"Ha!" Mace brandished, he leapt in front of the figure pressed into one corner. His hand was on the trigger, but at the last second he froze, and then dropped his hand. "Seriously?" he demanded, outraged. "You broke in and then hid? What are you doing?"

"Sorry," Neal said. He had been blending into the shadows in his dark clothing and leather jacket. "I wanted to be sure it was you."

"Rather than someone following through the holes you left in my security?" Mozzie asked, darkly. "You're lucky I didn't mace you."

He was still annoyed at the scare, so he deliberately turned his back to start the coffee maker. When he glanced over, Neal was still standing in the same place, and he huffed impatiently. "I'm not going to mace you now. You can move."

"Windows," Neal said, with a quick gesture towards them. As if that explained everything.

Mozzie glanced towards them as well, going tense. "Were you were followed here?" he demanded.

"I don't know," Neal said. He sounded anxious. "I think I'm being watched."

Mozzie looked at the windows again. One of the advantages of this apartment was that the windows looked straight out onto the brick wall of the sub-level, so that it would be very hard for anyone to look in through them (he had tested it before signing the lease). "For now, we're in the clear."

"Can you cover them?" Neal asked.

"I promise you, if someone could see us we'd see them right back. And I make regular bug sweeps."

"Please," Neal said. He still hadn't moved.

"You're involved in something serious, then," Mozzie said. He switched on the lights and pulled shut the blackout curtains over all the windows. Neal relaxed a bit. "What's going on?"

Neal shook his head. "I'm sorry if I was tracked here. I didn't mean to compromise you."

"Thank you, now I'm officially worried." The coffee was ready; Mozzie filled two mugs. He had a feeling they would need it.

"I'm hiding," Neal explained.

"Yes, I got that part," Mozzie said. He held out one of the mugs.

Neal came forward to take it off him, and then stepped back to lean against the wall again. He began to swallow the coffee in large, hasty gulps, not seeming to care how hot it was. "You can't tell anyone I'm here."

"That would seem to be implied," Mozzie agreed.

"Anyone," Neal insisted. "Moz, I don't know who I can trust. This is bad."

Automatically, Mozzie ran through his current get-out-of-town-fast plans. Money, transport, favours he could call on. His life had always been portable. "Tell me what happened," he said. "We'll work out a plan."

Again, Neal glanced around, this time more obviously fearful. "I can't," he said.

"Can't what?"

"Can't tell you. Someone might hear."

"This place is bug-free," Mozzie said. "I already told you…" An alarming thought occurred to him. "Do you mean you're bugged?"

Neal's eyes widened. "I could be," he said, and shed his jacket hastily, tossing it away from him. The (luckily empty) coffee mug got caught along with it, but thankfully hit the floor on top of the fabric and didn't break.

"Stop!" Mozzie snapped. "Don't move. I'll check you."

Neal practically vibrated in place as Mozzie located his scanning equipment, and ran the wand over first Neal's jacket and then up and down his front and back. "There. You're clean." He had also clearly been running — there was sweat soaking through his dark tee-shirt.

"Am I?" Neal said. He looked at his hands. They were shaking slightly. "I didn't think of that. I forgot there could be something on me."

"I've hardly ever seen you this shaken up," Mozzie said. "Neal, seriously, what happened?"

Neal was looking up at the ceiling now. "You checked the smoke detector?"

"Of course I checked the smoke detector; that's an amateur hiding place."

"What about —"

"Neal!" Mozzie snapped. Neal looked at him, startled. "What. Is. Wrong?"

"They're watching me," Neal said.


"The FBI. They control the cameras, you know."

"We live in a surveillance state, you don't have to tell me that," Mozzie agreed. He was paying more attention to Neal than to his words, though. Neal was worryingly pale, and… shivering?

"They were listening to me too, but I pulled that out," Neal said. "But they're still watching me, I know they are. Even here. Even though —"

With no warning, his legs folded. Mozzie jumped forwards, a startled sound escaping him, but he wasn't in time to prevent Neal from sliding down the wall to land in a semi-upright position on the floor.

"Neal!" Mozzie dropped to a crouch in front of him.

Neal pushed himself back to sit pressed into the corner, his knees pulled up in front of him. "Are you with them too? Are you watching me?" He was breathing too fast, and shivering more obviously now. His brow was slick with sweat.

"Don't be ridiculous," Mozzie snapped, without thinking. "You're the one who's cosied up to the enemy, not me."

He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth. Neal's eyes widened like he'd just taken a punch to the gut.

It was now obvious, as it probably should have been from the beginning, that something was very wrong. "Neal, you're acting really weird. Are you sick? Dosed?"

"I'm fine," Neal said, swatting Mozzie's words away with his hand as if they were flies. "But you don't understand. You aren't listening."

"I am listening, and you don't sound like yourself at all." And he was deteriorating rapidly.

Neal looked around again. "You can't tell anyone I'm here," he said. "You promised, didn't you? They're trying to find me."

However, and against his inclination, Mozzie was becoming less and less convinced that that was true. Or, at least, true in the way Neal thought it was. "What about the Suit?" he asked. "Peter. Is Peter trying to find you?"

Neal jerked, and looked around again. "Is Peter here?" he asked.

"No, he isn't," Mozzie said. "It's just me."

"Is he okay?" Neal asked. "Are they trying to get him too?" He was breathing faster again, and talking fast too.

"Who?" Mozzie demanded.

Neal's forehead creased, and he looked down at his knees. "I don't know," he mumbled. Then he looked up sharply. "What about in the light fittings. Did you check —"

"There are no bugs in the light fittings," Mozzie said, loudly. He reached to find the pulse in Neal's neck while Neal was still staring at him in confusion. It was racing, and his skin was hot and clammy. "Look, I really do think you might have been dosed with something. Can you remember?"

"Is Peter okay?" Neal asked.

"Peter's fine," Mozzie said, hoping he wasn't lying. Where was the Suit? How had he let Neal get into this situation?

Neal nodded with a quick jerk. "Is Mozzie okay?"

Mozzie started. "Neal, I'm right here."

Neal blinked at him. "Oh. Yeah."

That was enough. "I'll be right back," Mozzie said, and began to stand.

Neal grabbed his sleeve. "No!"

"Neal, I'm not going far. I left my phone on the table."

"You can't!" This time Neal's voice was near-hysterical, and his fingers were turning white as he gripped Mozzie's sleeve. "Don't you understand — they're listening —"

"Neal, let go of me."

"No!" But Neal was staring at his own fingers in evident confusion, like he already couldn't remember why he was holding on to Mozzie.

Mozzie resisted the quite strong urge to shout at him. It probably wouldn't help. "I just want to talk to the Suit — to Peter. You want to talk to Peter, don't you?"

Neal looked torn, and for a moment his fingers began to loosen. But then they tightened again. "Moz, no. You tell me not to trust people. You can't —" He had to pause for breath. "You know we're always being watched. All of us. You can't let them take me!"

Mozzie groaned. "Orwellian as our government may be, you're not being handed over to them. I'm just trying to get you some help."

"I don't need help. No. No."

Every line of him was taut and shook with tension. His face was white. Mozzie shook his head. "Neal, you really do."

Neal looked betrayed. He also made a pleading gesture with his hands; Mozzie wrenched his sleeve free and sprang to his feet before Neal could catch him again. "Hah!" he exclaimed, which wasn't really fair, but his mounting frustration had needed an outlet.

It was hard to take any satisfaction in his victory, though, when Neal just curled into a miserable, shaking ball. Mozzie forced himself to look away and reach for his phone. He didn't have the Suit's number stored in it, obviously, but he had it memorised.

It was picked up immediately. "Burke."

"Hello," Mozzie said, and waited. Part of him was worrying that Neal was right and he was betraying him. The FBI could be behind everything after all…

"Mozzie. Do you know where Neal is?" Peter demanded.

"That depends," Mozzie said. "How did you lose him?"

Peter made a noise which could be irritation or frustration. Or both. "He got a dish of powdered stimulants thrown at his face by our bad guy, and then he vanished during the arrest. If you know where he is —"

"Oh, so this is your fault," Mozzie said.

There was a brief silence. "So you do know?" Peter asked.

"I didn't say that!" Mozzie snapped. "But, hypothetically, it might explain a few things."

He could hear the Suit take a couple of calming breaths. It was oddly satisfying that he wasn't the only one worked up. "Well, I hope your next move in whatever hypothetical scenario you've got going on is to call 911 and get an ambulance there."

Mozzie frowned at Neal, who was still shaking, his eyes fixed on some imaginary point. "I'm not sure that's such a good idea," he said.

"Mozzie, I don't have time for your paranoia. He needs medical help. Besides, having that documentation will mean we can press additional charges against the man who attacked him."

"Compelling as that last argument is —" it was very compelling — "I'm not sure how well Neal would react to strangers trying to take him. He's… kind of freaking out. He accused me of siding with shadowy organisations spying on him."

"Dammit," Peter muttered. He didn't even take the easy insult Mozzie had left him — he must be worried. "Do you have a vehicle?"

"Not nearby, I'm afraid."

"Too easy, I suppose," Peter said. "Right. What if you gave me the address where you are, and I drove around to pick you both up?"

"You're asking me to compromise the security of my location?"

Peter groaned aloud. "Mozzie, I don't care about where you're holed up. Nor does the FBI. What I care about right now is Neal."

"Fine," Mozzie said. He couldn't help adding, "Don't make me regret this."

"What about me?" Peter muttered, darkly. Mozzie pretended not to hear.


Neal didn't like the way Mozzie kept looking at him. The brush of his gaze hurt.

He wished, now, that the windows hadn't been covered after all. The glass hadn't looked thick enough to be soundproof and there could be people hiding out there right now, ears pressed to the panes. Listening.

Mozzie was talking on his phone. Neal tried not to think about that too hard, because it made him start hyperventilating. Mozzie's phone must be safe, though, if anyone's was. Mozzie knew about the dangers. He understood.

His head thudded with a dull pain. The pounding was in his throat, too, and in his chest. His lungs had to fight against it — there was something not quite right about his breathing.

"Neal, can you stand up?" Mozzie asked.

"No," Neal said, instantly. Standing up presented a larger profile to the ones who were watching. They could be using heat cameras to look through the curtains. Why hadn't he considered that before, either?

"I think you can," Mozzie said. He crouched down so that his face was level with Neal's. "I want to get you out of here. We'll go someplace safer."

"You said here was safe," Neal said. "You said you swept for bugs! You —"

"Yes, I know," Mozzie interrupted. "That doesn't mean there isn't somewhere safer."

Neal clenched his arms tighter around his knees. "We can't leave. They'll see us leave." His skin was crawling. There were eyes on him.

"They won't," Mozzie said. "Peter's going to create a distraction. No one will see us sneak out."

"Peter?" Neal said. His head came up sharply.

"Yes, Peter," Mozzie said. "He's going to double back and pick us up."

Peter would create a distraction. That was dangerous. Peter would be putting himself in danger, and he might die, he would get killed and —

"Come on, up you get," Mozzie said, getting a hand under Neal's arm and yanking him to his feet. Neal wavered dizzily, but Mozzie grabbed him and sandwiched him against the wall until he was steady.

"Do we have to go outside?" Neal asked. He was pressing himself back against the wall, and his heart was already racing at the thought.

"It'll be fine," Mozzie said. "I promise. Would I lie to you about that?"

"Maybe," Neal said.

Mozzie groaned, and scrubbed a hand against his face. "Neal. It's safe. Come on, please."

Neal went, reluctantly, as Mozzie pulled him along. He had to keep glancing over his shoulder to check nothing was creeping up on them. When they stepped out of the building he shrank back from the daylight, and almost tried to force his way back in past Mozzie to hide.

"It's okay," Mozzie said. Neal was frantically searching for cameras, for a hidden sniper. "Neal, we're safe. Peter's distraction worked."

"How do you know?" Neal insisted.

"Evading Big Brother is what I do," Mozzie promised him, and Neal clung to that scrap of unquestionable truth.

He nearly bolted again when a car came around the corner, driving fast. "It's just Peter," Mozzie said, grabbing hold of his arm. "He's going to take us somewhere safer, remember?"

"Yeah," Neal said, shakily. His head was pounding. But then an awful thought occurred to him. "Moz, he's FBI. We're hiding from —"

"That means his car is the last place anyone'll think to look," Mozzie said. Which made a reassuring sort of sense.

Peter got out of the car, maybe in time to hear that. "Hi, Neal," he said.

Neal glanced anxiously around again. This was no time to be having a conversation in the open. Anyone could overhear them. "They'll be back soon," he said.

"Yes, we should go," Mozzie agreed. He glanced at Peter. "Suit, just… follow my lead right now, okay?"

Peter looked at him doubtfully.

"Peter?" Neal asked.

Peter turned to him, and his expression changed slightly. "All right," he said. "Neal, let's get in the car."

Mozzie gestured to the back seat, so Neal hastily climbed in there and Mozzie got in next to him. He was looking at the door when Mozzie said, "Suit, perhaps you'd better put the locks on."

"What?" Neal asked. He would be trapped.

"So that no one can get in," Mozzie explained, and Neal relaxed.

"Ah," Peter said, and there were reassuring clicks of the locks engaging. "Good idea. I've had enough surprises for one day."

"What, you have?" Mozzie was at his most sarcastic.

"Why are you acting as if this is my fault?" Peter demanded.

"Because it is. Neal wouldn't be in this state if it weren't for you."

"I didn't force him to go undercover and then annoy the target."

"Well, you should have made sure he was looked after," Mozzie snapped.

Peter groaned. "Believe me, I tried. Can you make him stay where he's told?"

There was a pause. "You may have a point," Mozzie admitted.

Peter snorted.

Neal hunched over and rubbed at his arms. His skin was prickling, as if tiny ants were crawling all over him. "Are we being followed?" he asked.

"I'm trained to shake off a tail," Peter said, with somewhat forced assurance.

"There," Mozzie said. "Nothing to worry about."

Neal wanted very badly to agree, but the anxiety wouldn't let him go. "Peter, are you all right?" he asked.

"I'm fine," Peter said.

"You didn't get shot?"

"No, I didn't get shot."

Neal nodded. "Are you sure?"

"I wouldn't be driving if I'd been shot," Peter pointed out, again with the same forced calm.

"Oh." That made sense. "Are Diana and Jones okay?"

"They're fine," Peter said. "Everyone's fine."

Come to think of it, if all the FBI except Peter was the enemy, did that mean Diana and Jones were the enemy too?

"Neal, try and calm down," Mozzie said. "You're hyperventilating."

Neal struggled to control himself. He rubbed his arms harder, pressing down on the tight unsettling feeling of his skin. His chest ached with each breath. "Something bad happened," he said. "What was it?"

"Everything's fine," Mozzie said. "You don't need to worry about anything."

That Mozzie would say something like that just alarmed Neal even more. "Peter?"

"Mozzie's right," Peter said. "Just stay calm."

"Neal!" Mozzie said, sharply. Neal jerked his head up. "Stop scratching your arms!"

Neal looked down. His fingernails had torn long welts across his skin. "Did I do that?" he asked.

He was still doing it.

Mozzie grabbed his wrists, pulling them away from his body. Neal tried to half-heartedly break free, but Mozzie held on with surprising determination. "Suit, we had better be nearly there."

"We are," Peter said.

Neal stared at Mozzie holding his wrists until the car stopped. Peter opened the door next to him, and he flinched away from the outside.

"Hospitals are willing pawns of a corrupt governmental system," Mozzie said, conversationally.

"Don't," Peter hissed, as he got a hand under Neal's arm.

Surprisingly, Mozzie seemed to deflate. "Sorry," he muttered. "Neal, get out with Peter, okay?"

Neal did, but only because when Peter and Mozzie moved they took the feeling of safety with them. Peter had an arm fully around him, which Neal thought must be for protection although he appreciated the incidental support as he was shaky and unsteady on his feet.

"Where are we going?" he asked, sticking as close to Peter's side as was possible.

He didn't get an answer before they had passed inside the looming building, and the smell of the hospital hit him like a punch in the gut, along with the awareness of people everywhere.

The floor seemed to buckle beneath him as his vision fell apart. He turned to try and run, but went down onto his knees instead, struggling to breathe. He was clinging to Peter's shirt, pressed against him, as people shouted incoherently.

When hands tried to pry him away from Peter he struggled, limbs uncoordinated. Until suddenly all the fight drained out of him and he went limp. He only now registered the injection from a few moments ago.

Peter and Mozzie both tilted into view as Neal was lifted onto a gurney, a mask covering his face. He stared at them, pleading silently. Help, help.

Mozzie put a hand over his. "Neal, it's okay," he said. "Trust them, all right? They're helping you."

Neal could only stare back as he was wheeled away.


An hour in an institutional waiting room with the Suit did nothing for Mozzie's mood. "Will you stop pacing?" the Suit snapped.

Mozzie stopped, but only so that he could glare. "I wouldn't even be here if not for you," he said. "Neither would Neal."

The Suit sighed, and let his head hit the wall as he tipped it back. "Yes, you've said that. Many times."

"And I can say it some more."

The Suit groaned. "Please don't."

He looked tired. Mozzie relented a bit. "Why aren't they letting us in?" he asked, falling back on his other primary concern.

"I don't know."

"They could be doing anything to him. Surely we should have been allowed to see him by now."

"What do you want me to say?" Peter asked. He sounded like he wanted to be snappish, but couldn't quite work up the energy. "I'm not a doctor. And believe me, I'm not enjoying the wait either."

Mozzie lapsed into silence. Observing the worry-lines on Peter's forehead, he also didn't resume his pacing.

"When are they letting us in?" Peter muttered, finally.

Mozzie was debating whether to try and steer Peter into abusing his authority (or using it for good, depending on one's viewpoint) and demanding answers when a doctor finally emerged to usher them back.

She warned them that Neal was still confused, although sedated. Still, Mozzie's first thought when they entered the room was that he looked a lot better than he had earlier. He was drowsing against the semi-upright bed, but jerked awake sharply when the door opened. The monitor he was hooked to registered the spike in both his breathing and heart rate.

He relaxed a bit when he registered them properly. "Peter, Moz, hi," he said.

"Hi, Neal." Peter crossed easily to one side of the bed. More uncomfortable in the hospital surroundings, Mozzie was slower to reach the other side, where he leaned against the wall next to the darkening window. "How are you feeling?"

Neal shrugged, then grimaced, then shrugged again. "I don't know. Weird. They drugged me."

"If you mean on the op then I know, and I'm sorry that happened," Peter said. "If you mean here at the hospital, that's for your own good."

"You've fallen victim both to the criminal underworld and to the medical corporations," Mozzie said. "I sympathise." Peter glared at him.

Neal didn't really seem to notice. He was sneaking what he clearly thought were covert looks around him, and at the door.

"You're safe here," Mozzie said. "You know that, don't you?"

Neal shot a helpless look at both him and Peter. By which Mozzie read that Neal wasn't convinced of that, but didn't want to admit it. "Yes," he said.

"Well, you are," Peter said, and leaned slightly closer to Neal. Neal managed to slide sideways without seeming to move, ending up pressed against Peter's shoulder. "Neal, do you remember what happened?"

"You mean that guy throwing a dish of his merchandise in my face?" Neal asked. "Yeah." He shot a look at Mozzie. "It's not like before. Now I can actually feel that I'm dosed."

"That sounds like an improvement," Peter said.

Neal shrugged. "At least I know I shouldn't be feeling like this."

"Yeah, but you are," Peter said. "That's okay. It's not your fault."

Neal shrugged again. It was a quick motion; a nervous tic.

"Listen to the Suit," Mozzie said. "He's right. It's his fault."

Peter rolled his eyes. "I could say the same to you for playing along with his drug-induced paranoia."

"He was being reasonable at first!" Mozzie protested.

Surprisingly, this won a smile from Neal, although a worried one. "I was that bad?" His eyes darted over to the window again.

"Don't worry about that now," Peter said firmly.

"I can't stop feeling worried," Neal said, quietly. One of his hands was bunching the sheets, twisting tighter and tighter while his knuckles gradually turned white.

Mozzie and Peter exchanged a slightly helpless look. Neal kept his eyes turned downward.

Mozzie cleared his throat. "Perhaps while you're in a receptive mood, the Suit can confirm some of the secrets his governmental organisation is hiding from the rest of us. It might make you feel validated."

Peter groaned. "I really don't think that more conspiracy theories are what he needs right now."

"Au contraire," Mozzie said. "It's exactly the right time. Usually he doesn't believe me, and that pre-biases him. For instance, can you confirm that airports are routinely shut down not because of terrorism threats but because airline passengers and crew witnessed our extraterrestrial visitors from their plane?"

"Obviously I'm not confirming that, it's ridiculous," Peter snapped.

"Ha! So you deny it," Mozzie said, triumphantly.

"He's denying it because it isn't true," Neal said. He was smiling faintly.

"So says you," Mozzie said. "You just prove how easy these cover-ups are to orchestrate. People refuse to hear anything which conflicts with their worldview."

"Have you considered that their worldview is accurate?" Peter asked.

"Considered and rejected," Mozzie told him.

Peter snorted. "I'm sure you considered it for all of half a second."

"Time is no object to the truth," Mozzie said, waving a hand airily.

Neal grinned, a little shakily. "What others have you got?" he asked.

Mozzie took them through the topics of the last few internet debates he'd been involved in. Peter denied them all vehemently, as Mozzie already knew he would. (For all of his good qualities, the Suit was most definitely one of the people who would be the most likely to write off any paranormal incident he was involved in as merely a bizarre series of coincidences, and so he had no real hope of convincing him of anything.)

Meanwhile, Neal was very gradually relaxing. He kept himself pressed as close to Peter as possible throughout, occasionally jerking as his breathing or pulse spiked. (Mozzie didn't actually feel jealous; he wasn't a fan of contact himself.)

Eventually Neal began to go for longer periods without jolting awake, the mixture of drugs in his bloodstream having finally tipped over into the side that was intended to put him out. Mozzie caught Peter looking a his watch. "You're not intending to slope off, are you?" he asked.

Peter gave him an odd look. "I didn't know you wanted my company."

"Neal does," Mozzie said. "And —"

"And it's my responsibility, seeing as how this is my fault," Peter finished. "Yes, all right."

Mozzie cleared his throat. "That wasn't actually what I was going to say. Although I am pleased that my words have been sinking in."

Peter raised his eyebrows. "Oh? So what were you going to say?"

"You ruined the moment," Mozzie said. "I don't want to say it now."

"Seriously?" Peter asked, and rolled his eyes. "What are you, ten?"

Stung, Mozzie rolled his eyes right back. "I was going to say that actually I don't mind your company that much. All things considered."

"Oh," Peter said. "Well, in that case I would have said thank you."

A mutually embarrassed silence fell.

"I'm glad you were there to look after Neal," Peter said, eventually. He was looking studiously at Neal, rather than at Mozzie.

"Well," Mozzie said. "I guess Neal gets himself into trouble whether it's with you or not."

Peter's mouth half-lifted in a grin. "Was that an apology?"

"Definitely not."


Neal startled, coming half-awake with a gasp. Mozzie and Peter both fell silent, but he just blinked a couple of times and closed his eyes again. Peter patted his hand that was loose on the cover and Neal caught it, not letting go despite in all other respects appearing to have fallen asleep again. Mozzie met Peter's eyes and they both shared a grin.

"At least he's getting some proper rest now," Peter said. "And I know what you were doing earlier, by the way."

"What are you talking about?" Mozzie asked.

"Giving Neal a yardstick of paranoia to compare himself against. It seemed to work."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Mozzie said, loftily.

Peter shook his head with a smile, sighing slightly. "Your secret's safe with me."

"I'd say you're the delusional one, coming up with theories like that," Mozzie countered. Which didn't manage to at all dislodge the expression from Peter's face. It was even edging towards smug.

Neal was definitely sound asleep now, the lines of anxiety finally smoothed away. He still had hold of Peter's hand.

"I'm going to fetch us some coffee," Mozzie said. After all, they were both going to be there all night.


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Tags: fanfic, fic: white collar, gen, hc, hc_bingo, white collar
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