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11 July 2011 @ 06:00 pm
White Collar - "Desperate Deed" (1/6)  
Title: Desperate Deed
Chapter: 1 of 6
Author: TeeJay
Genre: Gen
Characters/Pairings: Neal, Peter, Elizabeth (and a number of other regulars)
Written for: kanarek13  for collarcorner  Prompt Fest Round 6
Prompt/Request: I don't wanna give too much away, so I'm not gonna post the prompt here. If you're curious, you can read it over at collarcorner.
Rating: PG-13 for language and violence
Warning: There's gonna be some f-bombs. And blood.
Summary: Peter receives threatening e-mails from someone with a grudge. The FBI has a hard time catching the guy and Neal gets caught in the middle.
Disclaimer: White Collar, its characters and its settings belong to Jeff Eastin and USA Network. And, guys? Your characters are not only welcome, they're wonderful. I'm just borrowing, I promise.
Author's Note: Long author's note is long, because there's just so many things about this story I wanna mention. But firstly: You can now download the full story in PDF format.
  1. As the prompt states, this was inspired by something that happened in the season one finale of the TNT show "Rizzoli & Isles" (which, in case you're interested, is based on Tess Gerritsen's novel "The Surgeon"). To understand this story it's not necessary to have seen "Rizzoli & Isles" or the season finale because this isn't a crossover and I'm not using any of the R&I characters. I'm not saying that it won't help with the visuals, though. If you're so inclined, you can watch the scene in question here, though I'm gonna have to warn you that it's more than slightly spoilery (both for the R&I season finale and this story).
  2. I imagine this story to take place shortly after "What Happens In Burma".
  3. If you've read my story "Off Target", some of this may seem kinda repetitive. I have really tried not to go the same route, but there's only so many directions in which you can take a very similar situation with the same characters. At least I have one thing going for me: I'd like to think I'm being consistent.
  4. I have much love for kanarek13  . She posts the best prompts. This is the third story I've written for her, and I've always enjoyed the hell out of it. She's also incredibly generous (and she'll know what I'm referring to). Thank you for that!
  5. I swear I wrote this before I saw episode 3x03, just in case you think I stole the threats thing. I didn't. swanpride  can vouch for that.
  6. Speaking of whom, I need to thank two other people who helped greatly with this story. First of all, my invaluable beta reader rabidchild  who (I hope) caught all the snafus and encouraged me to rewrite a few things that, in the end, improved this doozie of an angst ride. Second of all, swanpride  for her very helpful comments and insights on the logistics of this, which ultimately helped me over a little bout of writer's block. Without her, it would have taken even longer for this to see the light of day (and it already took long enough).
  7. This is now officially the longest White Collar fanfic I've written to date. Wheee!
  8. Chapter titles are all song titles. Let's see if you can recognize any. (No cheating!)
  9. Last but not least, because I'm mean that way, I will post one chapter every day. (There's six in all, and the first one is the shortest.)

Chapter 1
- Consider This -

agent burke, be on your guard. one day soon you will regret having signed up for this job.

The words stared angrily at Peter from the laptop screen. The e-mail had come to his private account, and Peter had nearly tagged it as spam to delete it unread.

The subject line read: "important message for peter burke." He didn't know why he opened it, but in retrospect it seemed like an uncanny sense of prescience.

Peter stared at the message for a long minute. He pondered his next course of action, or even if there should be a next course of action. He'd been threatened before in his line of work, and these threats rarely posed actual or imminent danger. White collar criminals were usually not the violent types.

Peter looked at the e-mail again. There was no name in the return address, and the address itself was generic. The header information was a jumble of information he couldn't make heads or tails of. He clicked the message closed but left it in his inbox. By the next day, he had all but forgotten about it.

It was three days later that he received a similar message.

burke, you better take me seriously, or else youre gonna be very sorry.

It was then that he started to grow concerned and involved the Bureau. The tech guys confiscated his laptop and ran every trace they could think of. But whoever this was, they knew their stuff. It looked like the message had been routed around half the world and back, utilizing heavy encryptions that were pretty much impossible to break.

Another two days later, and IT alerted him that he'd received a new threat via e-mail.

i will come after you for what you did to me. there will be no escaping.

It was with the bridge of his nose pinched between his thumb and index finger that Neal found Peter in his office that day.

"Bad day?" Neal asked.

Peter sighed heavily. "You could say that."

"You've been kinda broody lately. Domestic strife in the Burke home?"

He knew Neal had meant it to sound playful, but Peter wasn't in the mood for verbal sparring with the ex-con. Maybe it was time to share this with the team. "I'm being threatened."

Neal's expression immediately grew a notch darker. "Threatened? How?"

"E-mails. Coming in every few days, to my private account. IT is trying to trace them, but no luck so far."

"Can I see them?"

Peter hesitated, but figured it couldn't hurt, so he showed Neal the printouts.

"Sounds like someone with a grudge," Neal commented. "Have you started looking into this?"

Peter's temper suddenly flared. "What the hell would I be looking into?! There is nothing to look into! Anonymous e-mail address, no clues to work with..."

If Neal was perturbed by Peter's outburst, he didn't show it. He calmly held up that last e-mail. "Oh, but there is. A clue, I mean. 'I will come after you for what you did to me.' This is someone out on a personal vendetta. That's a start."

Peter sighed. "Neal, do you know how many criminals I've gotten locked up? It's a long list. I don't see how that'll help us."

"You could start by narrowing it down to those released from prison in, say, the last two or three months."

"Right," Peter acknowledged and chided himself on not thinking of that sooner. This was seriously messing with his head.

By early afternoon Neal, Peter, Diana and Jones were working hard on finding possible leads. Lists, case files and database printouts were strewn on the conference room table. There was little talk and a lot of caffeine and paper shuffling.

At six o'clock, Peter folded his hands behind this neck and leaned back in his chair. He looked around the table. "Okay, so tell me what you've got."

Neal, Diana and Jones rattled through potential suspects and probable motives. The list wasn't too long, and Peter tried to mentally picture each and every one of the criminals they were talking about. The name Jake Benson painted a particularly vivid picture, and an uneasy feeling spread through Peter's stomach.

Benson had been convicted eight years ago, one of Peter's early cases in White Collar Crime. He'd bilked over a million dollars from innocent clients through bogus investment schemes. Not a particularly exciting or extraordinary case, but what made it linger in Peter's mind was that one of the clients Benson had ripped off got to Benson's wife and shot her, execution-style, in their own home.

Benson had already threatened Peter at the trial, but Peter hadn't been worried then. The guy was being put away, and from their investigation Peter was fairly certain he didn't have any ties to organized crime. There was only so much Benson would be able to do from prison.

Now that he was out, however, it was possible that the man's urge for revenge could have festered rather than abated.

Peter shared this with the team and asked them to take a closer look at Benson. Finally, they had a lead that seemed worth investigating.


continued in
Chapter 2

- 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 -
Mood: listlesslistless
Nefhiriel: Hyper Romolanefhiriel on July 6th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
\o/ Woot! I've been waiting for this one. Awesome start.

*eagerly awaits tomorrow's update*
TeeJay: Neal - Eyetj_teejay on July 7th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
Aaaaand chapter 2 is here! Prepare for some suspense! :o)
kriadydragon: Dolphinkriadydragon on July 7th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
Excellent start, and even better, daily updates! Can't wait for the next part :D
TeeJay: Neal - Mirrortj_teejay on July 7th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
You'll curse me for the daily update rule when you've read chapter 2, trust me. ;-P
imbecamiel on July 7th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
Loving this! :D Very intriguing beginning indeed... can't wait to see where it goes!
TeeJay: Neal Peter - Fisttj_teejay on July 7th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Cami! In case you haven't seen, chapter 2 is now up.
kanarek13: White Collar - happy 1kanarek13 on July 7th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
<3 <3 <3

I am the happiest prompter on earth right now :D This soooo made my day. THANK YOU *hugs*

I've said before that this story is like a fedora-shaped jar of cookies. I have now revised my previous statement and given it "Neal's bakery" status, but I'm still gonna be collecting chocolate chip cookies after each chapter.

In this one there's definitely a cookie in the plot setup. I love everything that deals with untraceable messages, anything to feed my geeky mind. And another cookie for reminding us that the White Collar unit is not some sort of safety zone where agents are more or less safe and the cases usually aren't dangerous. There's always a chance that a seemingly common case will one day come back and bite you in the ***, hard and painful. And the team working together to help one of their own - cookie-worth like hell :D

More after the second chapter :P You see how much I'm loving this? :P *squeeee*
TeeJay: El - Awesomesaucetj_teejay on July 7th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
:-D :-D :-D Your e-mail totally made my day. I owe you a response, but I only just got home from yoga class. I am so glad you're liking it so much. And I'm gonna have to plow through Neal's bakery. (Very dangerous, that!!)