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06 January 2011 @ 02:15 pm
White Collar Fic: Partners In and Out of Crime  
Written for whitecollar100 Challenge #027 – Partner


Title: Partners In and Out of Crime
Pairing/Characters: Peter/Elizabeth, Neal
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 900
Spoilers: Season 1
Summary: Neal's left speechless, Peter's head is in his hands and Satchmo just wags his tail
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


"No."

Peter hadn't even finished opening his front door, but his answer to Neal was adamant.

"Peter!" Neal pushed his way in anyway, brandishing that morning's New York Times. "You said I could bring cases to you and this is a case!"

"For NYPD," Peter countered. "Contrary to popular belief, and by popular I mean in your mind, the FBI doesn't get involved every time a work of art is stolen from someone's home."

"But this wasn't just one work of art! It was a real heist," Neal exclaimed excitedly. "I tell you, it has all the marks of Il Dolce, a master thief who worked Manhattan about ten years or so ago."

"First off," Peter scowled, "There is no Il Dolce, it's il dolo - small d - and it means foul play in Italian. People weren't blaming the crimes on a single person, just on bad luck."

"See, I think you're wrong there." Neal waved the newspaper at him. "It hit me because we were talking about the event Elle catered last weekend. A caterer! It's the one thing all the heists had in common - they happened either during or just after catered events."

"How many ways do I need to say this?" Peter looked Neal in the eye. "There is no case here! There is no mysterious Il Dolce behind the crimes. They were just everyday thefts by everyday criminals that NYPD deals with everyday. So drop it."

Peter walked off and plopped down on the couch, leaving Neal hovering in the entryway.

"Are we not partners?" Neal's voice softened. "Am I not here because I bring a different viewpoint, that of the criminal?"

"We are partners," Peter countered, not looking at him. "So trust me when I say I guarantee you it's not Il Dolce."

o--o

Elizabeth came in from the backyard with Satchmo and found Peter and Neal in the living room, the air thick with tension.

"Uh, oh," she said, looking between the two of them. "Someone's in the doghouse and it's not Satchmo this time."

"I'm trying to..." Neal began.

"Leave her out of this," Peter snapped.

Elizabeth cocked her head in interest. "Okay, now I really want to hear what's going on."

"No," Peter said firmly. "We are not having this discussion."

He glared at her, but curiosity won over his warning so Elizabeth persisted.

"Neal, go ahead. I promise Peter won't bite if you tell me."

"You sure about that?' Neal eyed Peter who was now pacing by the fireplace.

"Elle..."

"I'm a big girl, I can handle myself," Elizabeth countered, hands on her hips. "Neal?"

"There was this master thief, Il Dolce they called him, back in like the 80s and 90s: high end jewels and art, always rich clientele, but very few heists. Whenever someone did a big score we'd all know who it was within 24 hours. When we didn't, it was chalked up to Il Dolce - a mystery man." He tapped the newspaper article for emphasis. "I think last night's heist was the work of Il Dolce."

"It wasn't," Elizabeth assured him.

"That's what I told him," Peter chimed in.

"How can you know?" Neal looked puzzled.

Elizabeth avoided Peter's desperate gestures to quiet her.

"Because I'm Il Dolce, or I was a partner in it at least, and we haven't stolen anything in years!"

Neal just blinked at her while Peter scrubbed his face with his hands.

The room went so dead silent the only sound was Satchmo's tail swishing back and forth across the rug as he sat happily unaware of the English language.

o--o

"You?" It was if the word was all Neal could manage.

"Technically my parents," Elizabeth explained, scratching the dog behind the ears. "We had a family catering company with a little side business if you catch my drift. We'd hire a few shady characters as busboys in case we needed to throw the scent off us and then we'd provide each other with alibis so no one ever considered us suspects. My brother and I would take turns 'getting lost' in the clients' houses so if we ever got caught casing the place it was written off as kids just messing around. Our parents handled the actual thefts."

"Elle..." Peter just had his head in his hands at this point.

"What? The statute of limitations is long over and besides, it's not like Neal would turn me in. If he tried you'd have him back in prison so fast..."

"You didn't have to tell him!" Peter enunciated every word clearly to his wife.

"Peter caught you..." A look of understanding dawned on Neal's face.

"Pretty much," Elizabeth admitted. "Peter caught on to us and would have busted my parents if not for the little catch of falling for their daughter. So we cut a deal: get out of the business for good and he'd, like the saying goes, make an honest woman out of me."

"Partners in crime," Neal marveled, looking between the two of them. "But hey," he brightened, his trademark smile alight. "I was right about the catering angle, wasn't I?"

Peter groaned. "My wife confesses that she's from a criminal background and all you care about is that you figured out the M.O.?"

"Of course." Neal shrugged. "It just goes to show what I always suspected." He winked at Elizabeth. "Your wife is my kind of people!"

o--c
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on January 6th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
Confession
I confess I really wanted to make Peter a criminal mastermind, but the muse preferred the surprise of Elizabeth being the one behind the white collar crimes in the past. It would have been cool though if Peter used his job at the FBI to cover and facilitate his own occasional heists. Cooler still if he was doing it Robin Hood style, to return art to their rightful pre-Nazi theft owners and stuff.

Perhaps someday I'll write an AU with Peter and Neal as master thieves and partners, but not this go around.

Very special thanks to beta melissima for her assistance with this fic.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
elrhiarhodanelrhiarhodan on January 6th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Psst...it's "El" not "Elle". Been meaning to tell you this for a while.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 6th, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Sorry, I wrote Criminal Minds for *years* before White Collar came along so any woman whose name is pronounced "L" get spelled like that.

BTW, where's the canon that Peter spells it E-L?
elrhiarhodanelrhiarhodan on January 6th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
It's been noted by Jeff Eastin in his twitter, it's on the script pages he's posted and in the leaked sides.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 6th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Ahh... I'll try, but no promises. It's kind of hard to unlearn a name after so many years. ;-)
Lomer: birdslomer on January 8th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
It's definitely "El." It's in the scripts. El is short for Elizabeth, and Elle is a totally awesome name all on it's own.

I love the story by the way! Fun twist!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 9th, 2011 02:18 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
Hi and thanks for popping in! Lots of things are short for Elizabeth - the three in my family all go by different names, none of them El or Elle! LOL It's just hard to take a name that you've written in one fandom for years and essentially spell it 'wrong' for another fandom. My fingers just rebel. LOL
Lomer: central parklomer on January 9th, 2011 04:10 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
When I was little I wished I were named Elizabeth because of all the nicknames. I could have been a Beth, El, Liz, etc, if only I had been named "Elizabeth." It's definitely canon that it's El though. I know how hard it must be to go from Elle in Criminal Minds (great show btw!) to El in White Collar, but it's jarring to see it spelled wrong. It's sort of like seeing Neal spelled Neil. Technically "Neil" is one way to spell the name, it's just not the way Caffrey spells it. I'm only mentioning it because I like your story. Please take my comment in the same tone that someone might say "you have a typo" and not an attack. I really liked your story!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 9th, 2011 04:14 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
Oh, I've been told it's El before and I can see it being jarring to someone who thinks of it as El, but that doesn't make my fingers type it any differently. LOL

One of these days I'll try to go back and edit all my WC fic to change it all at once and hope that that mass effort reprograms my brain from Elle to El.

Ironically? I couldn't STAND Elle on Criminal Minds. I'm glad she's gone. But that doesn't mean I can erase her from the show, much as I'd like. /sigh/

Amusingly my main fandom of Numb3rs has a huge pet peeve like this. The main characters' last name is Eppes so when we see newbie authors profess to love the show yet spell it Epps? /bristles/ Yeah, you can't help but have a violent reaction against it.
Lomer: subwaylomer on January 9th, 2011 04:41 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
I'm sure you could find a beta who would help your fingers even if you brain is programmed for CM. :) As for CM, honestly I couldn't tell the difference between Elle and Emily. I don't understand how the show will get rid of a character and replace them with someone who looks exactly like the old actor! I didn't even know that there were changes in the actors while watching the series for the first time (I watched random reruns out of order). Even when I see a photo of Emily and Elle next to each other I can't tell which is which. I hate that.

Never watched Numb3rs, but yeah, I cringe when I see Neil, Mozz, and Elle hanging out in White Collar. Peter's the only one who's spared the misspelling thanks to his utterly traditional name.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 9th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
Seriously? Wow, I think Emily and Elle are nothing alike! They even gave Elle a god awful short bob haircut before they brought on Emily with the longer much darker hair. I figure the problem was they already had two blondes on the show and redheads don't fair well on series television. So brunette it was.

As far as betas go, I publish over a hundred fic a year. There's no way I can get more than a fraction of them betaed. I've already worn out dozens of betas over the years so I pretty much give up on anything that's less than 4K long, basically saving my rare remaining betas for the fic that's worth it. (Though I do occasionally run drabbles past my roommate, if only because she likes to be first to see what's new.)

I've tried very hard not to type Neal as Neil, even though that's the spelling I remember growing up. I get how annoying it can be.

I do have a very long WC series to publish this month called Vanishing Act. I'm going to go do a search and replace on Elle/El right now on all six installments and see if that helps. :-)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 9th, 2011 05:14 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
P.S. ROFL! There's not a single Elle NOR El in the entire six fic series! /dies laughing/

Oh, the best laid schemes...
elrhiarhodanelrhiarhodan on January 6th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
I love this!

I haven't been caught off guard by a fic in a long time, and I definitely didn't see this coming.

Throws confetti in joy!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 6th, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
Yay! Misdirection FTW! Thank you so much for this!
sg_labsg_lab on January 6th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
This was great. I did not see that surprise coming and loved it.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 6th, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Thank you!
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: White Collar - Nealembroiderama on January 6th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
What an awesome twist--I loved it!
Indigo Catindigocat on January 7th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
From now on I won't be able watch White Collar without thinking of this story.
Ayesha: frescobrowngirl on January 7th, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)
This is a sparkling, unexpected delight, and it fits with the show so very well. :)
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 7th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
HEEEEE!!!!!!!

A Triple Triple drabble and El the criminal mastermind (sort of).

Absolutely loved this.
Tamannaswingandswirl on January 7th, 2011 06:23 am (UTC)
*hoots with laughter*

You, my dear, are a GENIUS.

*sends you the biggest bouquet of roses she can find*
.afiawri on January 7th, 2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, was that a delightful surprise! I was really expecting a Neal/Peter argument and then some banter and then you busted El out. What an elegantly executed twist.
innatizzy on January 8th, 2011 01:58 pm (UTC)
Hee! This was very cute. Can totally picture El being so matter of fact about it and Peter all embarrassed/ashamed/whatever about telling Neal. Nice job!
nice_disguise on January 8th, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
Great twist, and the way you wrote it, it was very believable too.
The Gauche in the Machinechina_shop on May 4th, 2011 04:14 am (UTC)
Hee! This is awesome!