Fandom: White Collar/DCU
Genre: Drama, Family, Action, and Angst are the main ones.
Disclaimer: Neither White Collar nor DCU are mine; I am simply borrowing them.
Spoilers: In White Collar, to the season 3 season finale. In the DCU, none really.
Summary: Neal thought that he’d be safe on a tropical island. Unfortunately, someone managed to track him down, and it isn’t the FBI…
AN: First I’d like to thank my lovely beta reader, leonie_alastair for the help. Second, this is a crossover, so knowledge of both universes is preferable. You should have at least a general knowledge of White Collar and the season 3 season finale, and you should know the basics of the Batfamily, which if you’ve watched any incarnation of any of the movies or TV shows involving Batman in some role, should be enough. Comments and/or constructive criticism is always appreciated. I hope you enjoy the story.
If he were anyone else, he wouldn’t have noticed the way the man three rows of tables down and two across was looking up at the back of his head every three point two seconds before glancing back down at his drink. If he hadn’t been raised to be incredibly suspicious, he wouldn’t have thought anything about the way the man’s shadow seemed to move by itself, as if it were a separate entity. If the world were different, without superheroes and villains and meta humans and multiverses, he would finish his drink, pay the bartender, find Mozzie and leave, possibly making plans to move on from their villa for a while.
But the world is what it is, and Neal is what he is, and even though it has been fifteen years, he still keeps track of his former enemies and their current whereabouts.
Neal downs his drink, gives a nod of his head to the bartender and leaves some cash on the bar. He bumps into a random man -- not so random, because he is pretty sure that that man is in league with the other man -- lifts the contents of the man’s pockets, and leaves the bar swiftly.
Forget “possibly” making plans -- he and Mozzie need to leave.
“Moz, the ferret’s in the henhouse.” He calls his oldest friend as Neal Caffrey, dodging pedestrians as he hurries along the harbor to get into their boat. Mozzie protests, of course, but Neal won’t hear it. “No, Moz, I mean it. We have to leave now.” He counters the man’s complaints. “It’s big trouble, Moz. And no, it’s not Interpol. Or the FBI. It’s the other team, and they’re after me.”
He doesn’t dare say much. Their island isn’t very far from the tourist trap that holds the bar, and Neal figures he’ll be home within the hour. Luckily, he doesn’t have much of a presence on that island, learning from the best about when it was better to observe than to participate, and getting a feel for things before diving in head first. The pity is, until that day, he was about to declare the island safe, a place that he and Mozzie could go without a bunch of different escape tactics and disguises.
But seeing a man who matches the description -- including the superpowers -- of a man on not just Interpol’s but also the Justice League’s most wanted list changes things. Neal runs a hand over his face, acknowledges the fact that he really needs to shave and that his “vacation” has come to the end. This isn’t the way he imagined it -- in his dreams it’s always Peter tracking him down, or maybe an angry Kramer, though that’s more a nightmare and ludicrous, because Peter is the only man that has ever been able to catch him (as Neal, a pesky voice in his head adds), and somehow at the end they all get to go back to New York and things can be normal again. He’ll get to go back to June’s. He’ll get to start things over with Sara. He can pet Satchmo and tease Peter with El’s help and maybe he’ll pull a few small cons to keep things interesting and they’ll bust some money launderers or mortgage scam artists or do something that isn’t completely boring like sitting on a desert island and doing absolutely nothing.
It was never his fantasy, not really. Sure, the first days were nice. And the sweet bartender is hot and whispers invitations into his ear until he takes her up on it and they had a nice time together. He thought it might last a bit longer, though he knows he has been longing for a change, for some excitement, other than pick-pocketing rich tourists who are too indulgent and unobservant with moves he perfected as a three year-old. Maybe it’s good he’s leaving the island.
He would have really preferred it be on his own terms, though.
He docks the boat at their private dock, and Mozzie is already waiting for him with a suitcase. “You look like a bat out of hell, Neal.” Mozzie didn’t call him Vic, which is telling as the man has been after him since they’ve been there to embrace the name Neal doesn’t feel quite fits him, as if he’s trying on his older brother’s clothes.
“We need to stock up, Mozzie. I’ve got to grab some things. Then we high-tail it out of here -- we’ve probably only got a couple of hours. If they can track me to the bar, they can certainly track me here. I’m just hoping they don’t know I’ve made them.” Neal leaps out of the boat, rushes into the house.
The house is gorgeous, and Neal feels a bit guilty leaving it, but that can’t be helped and he learned long ago not to dwell on things that couldn’t be helped. Otherwise, well -- he’d still be in his father’s shadow and he’d still be pining for parents he didn’t have. He has a mission now, just like he did back then, and there is no time to waste. He grabs a suitcase and packs it with mainly the trinkets he brought from New York, along with some others he has acquired in the meantime. He takes a look around and wonders if from now on he’s always going to be running.
He closes the suitcase and turns on his heel and doesn’t think about what he’s leaving behind, because he isn’t really leaving anything behind there. Not at the majestic villa on the private island in the middle of the sea. There was nothing for him there in the first place.
Mozzie has prepared the boat for a longer journey, and they take off without prolonged goodbyes. It isn’t until the island has disappeared from view that the man turns to Neal and says, “Begin.”
But Neal can’t. At least, not all the way. “Moz…” He tries, scrambles for a way to explain things. “I -- at the bar there were two guys, and one of them had this shadow.”
“Shadow.” Mozzie raises a brow. “And I thought I was the suspicious one.”
“A shadow that moved on its own, Moz. Not real noticeable unless you were looking for it, but I was and I saw it. He matches a villain on watch lists for the JLA and Interpol; he’s known as a fairly minor but still powerful meta human and villain and as a suspected member of the League of Assassins.”
“They’re bad news, Neal. Very bad news.” If they weren’t on a speed boat in the middle of the ocean, Neal would offer him a glass of wine or tea. This was the kind of conversation that really needed a beverage to go with it, something to take the mind off of, something that allowed you to take time and drink before coming up with an answer.
“I know, Mozzie. Believe me, I know. But that’s got to be him, and he seemed to be communicating with another guy. Two members of the League of Assassins -- both of which who happen to be watching me? It was time to go.” Neal fiddles with some dials on the boat, checking gas levels and radar and making sure they’re not being followed.
“And here we are,” Mozzie raises his hand to the open sea. “But, mon frère, tell me -- why would they be after you? And do they know who you are?”
The question is double-edged, and Neal hates not knowing the answer. “I don’t know. Maybe they think I’m an easy mark --” “Doubtful,” Mozzie interjects, “-- or maybe they connected Victor Moreau with Neal Caffrey.” He leaves out the other connection, the one he feels is far more likely and twice as troublesome. “In any case, we have to investigate. We have to figure out what they want, and stop it before something happens.”
“You’re a world renowned art thief, forger and con man. Maybe they want your skills.” Mozzie looks pensive. “Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. They could get the FBI off your back for good, Neal. Off our backs, that is.”
And this is what separates Mozzie from Neal, because Neal will never go back to what he once was. Neal will never betray himself again like that, or anyone else, and he of all people knows the trouble the League brings.
“The League of Assassins isn’t interested in art or general scams, Moz. They’re hard-core. There’s a reason it’s called the League of Assassins, and I am not going to have anything to do with them.”
“Okay.” At Neal’s glower, Mozzie wilts. “Okay. No League of Assassins for us. And you’re right, they’re probably after something bigger, something we don’t want to be involved in. So then what are they up to?”
“I have no idea.” Neal bites out, his eyes on the horizon. “But I’m going to find out.”