jacyevans: (white collar // how far we've come)
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Highway Robbery
A White Collar fem!Neal fanmix for [livejournal.com profile] waywardmixes genderbend challenge
it's highway robbery, and i kept my receipt

About White Collar: Neal Caffrey is an accomplished con man/forger/theif. Peter Burke is the FBI agent who caught him. With three months left on a four year sentence, Neal breaks out of jail to track down his girlfriend, Kate, after she leaves him, convinced that something has gone wrong. Under Peter's ever-watchful eye, Neal begins working as a consultant for the FBI's White Collar unit, helping Peter solve crimes, while also trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Kate.

About this mix: This is what I imagine Neal's story would be like if the mystery of what happened to Kate was no mystery at all - she simply left. The idea of Neal being a woman is intriguing, and I've never seen it done before (though I'm sure it exists somewhere). Peter and Neal's bromance is my favorite part of the show, and I wondered how Neal being a girl would alter their relationship.

I'm not normally into genderbending - if it's your thing, it's your thing, but I'm not overly fond - so this was a bitch and a half to put together. It took forever to finally find songs that had a similar sound to what I was going for and to find an actress who looked like the fem!Neal in my head (it's Rachel Hurd-Wood, for anyone who might be wondering.) I almost gave up, but once the idea took root, it latched on and would not let go until I finished.

download .zip | youtube playlist

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rise Up With Fists
What am I fighting for? The cops are at the front door
And what's that on your ankle? You say they're not coming for you
But house arrest is really just the same

When Kate says goodbye, Neal feels something in her chest shatter. It’s nothing like getting thrown in jail - no, that was a minor set-back. This is a stone to the gut, a slap in the face, falling head-first into a pool of ice. By the time she catches her breath, Kate is already gone, and Neal is left alone with the destruction she leaves behind.

Peter finds her sitting in the window of Kate's apartment, staring out at the sky, a bottle of wine hanging limply from her fingers.

"Hello Peter," Neal says without ever turning around; she doesn’t have to see him to know he’s arching his eyebrow, hands no where near his weapon.

She doesn’t carry; he knows she hates guns.

"How'd you know it was me?"

"Your aftershave. You always wear the same scent." Neal turns her head, lips twisting into a mockery of a smile. "What is that, Old Spice?"

Peter shrugs. "El likes it."

Neal makes a noncommittal noise and stares down at the bottle in her hands. 

"I missed her by two days," she says quietly; for all of her bravado, Neal has a single weakness, one thing that breaks down her veneer of fancy clothes and fake smiles into something fragile and breakable, something she works too damn hard to keep hidden away for it to slip out in front of Agent Peter effing Burke.


"Was she worth it?"

Neal takes another sip from the bottle, pausing to let her eyes meet Peter's across the room. She swallows, tapping her fingers against the glass. "I'll let you know."

Natalie Merchant - Put The Law On You
Did you really think you could pull it off
The perfect crime, crime of the heart?
Do you really think that you'll get away
Do the crime and never ever pay?

It’s been a week - one week and she feels like she’s going crazy, restlessness jangling along her nerves in a way jail never made her feel before.

Peter’s visit is a breath of fresh air, and she can’t help but grin when he takes a seat at the table across from her.

He arches an eyebrow. “What do you want?”

Neal blinks, the picture of wide-eyed innocence, knowing Peter won’t buy it one bit. “Are you insinuating that I have ulterior motives? Peter, I’m insulted.”

“You’re grinning.”

“Maybe I’m just happy to see you.”


Neal rolls her eyes, but she pushes the papers at her elbow towards Peter. She fights to keep her leg from bouncing underneath the table. She’s a con, damn it, she knows how to control herself better than this.

She takes a deep breath, finger pointing to the papers with a dull thump against the table. “I want you to get me out of here,” she says, and Peter stares blankly.

Get Your Way - Jamie Cullum
So what game shall we play today?
How about the one where you don't get your way?
But even if you do, that's okay

"You know, I'm pretty sure this thing is bad for my health."

Peter sighs the long suffering sigh of a man who has heard this complaint a thousand times in the past three weeks, getting his annoyance across in a single, loud breath.

Neal settles into the FBI easily. She flirts with Diana, trades friendly barbs with Jones, and annoys the hell out of Peter. She slots herself into Peter’s team of agents like she’s always been there, easy as breathing. Only the tracker on her ankle gives her away.

She’s surprised to find consulting on cases is a lot like running a con – charm the mark with batted eyelashes and larger-than-life promises, gain their trust while going behind their back and stealing all of their money.

Only now, the mark is dragged away in handcuffs while the money goes into an evidence bag and is shipped off to an FBI warehouse rather than a safe house half-way across the country.

Neal wrinkles her nose, continuing to goad Peter on. "Look at it, Peter! It's chafing my leg."

"It's a tracking anklet, Neal, not an accessory."

"You say potato," she mutters, glaring at her feet. She catches Peter's lips twitching into a grin out of the corner of her eye.

New York City - Norah Jones
We all told her things could get better
When you just say goodbye
I'll lay awake one more night
Caught in a vision I want to deny

Neal finds Mozzie sitting at her kitchen table with a glass of her most expensive wine.

“You’re replacing that bottle,” Neal says without heat. Mozzie continues staring into his glass as he swirls the wine around. “How’d you get in here?”

“I scaled the building and broke one of the windows.”

Neal arches an eyebrow and smiles when Mozzie rolls his eyes. “The front door. June let me up when I told her I was one of your friends. She’s sweet.”

“She is,” Neal agrees; not many people would take a perfect stranger into their home, never mind an ex-con they met at a corner thrift shop.

“Really, Neal, do you think so little of me?” He sounds offended, convincingly enough that Neal almost bites out an apology.

But she knows better. “I promise never to underestimate your people skills again,” Neal says dryly, and Mozzie grins, saluting her with his glass before topping off his wine. The glass hits the table with a muted clink.

“Any news on Kate?”

Mozzie’s smile falls. “She’s a leaf on the wind, my friend. Disappeared into thin air. She’s gone completely underground.”

Neal runs a hand through her hair. “We have plenty of friends underground.”

“And you don’t think I’ve spoken to them? She’s a ghost, Neal.”

“Keep looking, Moz. Kate is out there somewhere and she’s in trouble, I know it.”

Mozzie looks like he wants to say something else, but instead, he stands and pats Neal on the shoulder. “I’ll keep looking,” he murmurs, and Neal nods, muttering a thank you as he leaves. She drinks the rest of the wine straight from the bottle.

Playing Cards with Judas - Sarah Slean
I always loved the blues, he says, from behind that grin
Are you getting used to losing yet, girl?
I stack and deal them again

Peter stares at Neal and Elizabeth incredulously, like he can’t believe that of all the places Neal could have escaped outside of her radius, she ended up on his living room couch.

"Hi honey," Elizabeth says airily, and Neal forces down the laughter threatening to spill out of her mouth when Peter tugs on the ends of his tie.

“Thought for once I would meet you at home and obnoxiously speed you along. We have work today, you know.” Neal winks at Elizabeth and she grins, standing up to kiss Peter on the cheek.

Peter stares after her before turning back to Neal. He’s still attempting to get his tie on straight when Satchmo crawls into her lap, twisting his head to the side so Neal can scratch behind his ear.

Peter throws up his hands. “Even the dog is against me.”

“Really Peter, must you be so melodramatic? You’re worse than a woman.”

“You were flirting with my wife.”

Neal rolls her eyes, reaching out to pull the knot in Peter’s tie, yanking on the ends until it lies straight. Every movement is perfunctory, casual, belying the mischievousness of her words. “Don’t get your tie in a twist, Peter. If I was inappropriate, Elizabeth would have kicked me to the curb before you even had a chance to come down here and defend her honor. It was harmless.”

Peter snorts. “You’re a lot of things, Neal, but harmless isn’t one of them.”

She shouldn’t let it offend her - Peter isn’t being malicious, he’s just being Peter. The comment still stings.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Neal says with a grin, the one she hides behind when she’s on a case or charming a security guard before she breaks into a museum safe.

Peter frowns, but otherwise doesn’t say anything else.

Minature Disasters - KT Tunstall
Miniature disasters and minor catastrophes
Bring me to my knees
Well I must be my own master
Or a miniature disaster will be the death of me

"So, I always wondered - why did your parents name you Neal?" 

Because that was the name they gave me in Wit Sec. She doesn't say that though. Instead, she shoots Peter a grin and wiggles her eyebrows. "My mom had a thing for Neil Armstrong," she says, and Peter huffs a grin, rolls his eyes. Doesn't call her a liar, even though she's sure he wants to.

It scares her, how close they've grown, she and Peter Burke. Connections make you weak, makes it harder to turn your back and leave everything behind.

Makes it harder to run.

Maybe that's the point, a treacherous voice whispers at the back of her mind. She scowls and tamps it down. Neal deals the best way she can in that she doesn’t deal at all, keeps her emotions internalized, compartmentalizes, shoves everything down.

She swallows hard, taking a scalding gulp of her coffee.

“You okay?” Peter asks, and Neal shrugs, crossing her ankles and uncrossing them when the tracker bangs against her shin.

“The van stinks,” she complains, making a show of waving her hand around her nose, “And this coffee is stale. Otherwise, I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?”

Peter doesn’t buy the act, not for a second, but he doesn't ask her a million questions. She’s thankful for his patience - really, she is; she’s aware Peter has the patience of a saint where she’s concerned - but she needs to find Kate. The thought thrums through her veins, find Kate, find Kate, find Kate, a clock ticking down with time she doesn’t have.

Feels Like The End - Shane Alexander
I don't remember what I've done, I'm done with all the years
I've got no one but myself to ask, "How did I get here?"
And I worry all the time, what's coming around the bend
Maybe I'm just going crazy, but it feels like the end

“Are you trying to get yourself killed?”

Peter glances at her face, at the bruise she feels blossoming on her cheek where the perp she was attempting to con shoved her face-first into a wall - diamond thief with a knack for avoiding security cameras and faking alibis, a weakness for beautiful women, and a penchant for violence.

If Peter and Diana had been even a minute later... she shuts the thought out of her mind with a slow shake of her head and quite firmly doesn’t think of the could-have-beens.

“I had it under control.”

Peter waves the paramedics away, handing Neal an ice pack. He waits until they’re out of hearing range to ask the question Neal has been dreading and waiting for in equal measure for weeks.

“This is about Kate, isn’t it?”

Neal scoffs, tossing the ice pack into the back of the ambulance. “Come on, Peter -”

Peter grasps her wrist, gentle enough not to feel threatening but firm enough to keep her from walking away. “Damn it, Neal. When are you going to get it into your head? Kate is gone.”

“You don’t know that,” Neal whispers, and Peter barks a laugh.

“Don’t I? You haven’t heard from her, not one word since you got out. She hasn’t made an effort to contact you, has she?”

Neal shakes her head. “That doesn’t mean she’s gone for good.”

“You’re so far in denial, you can’t see what’s right in front of you. She left you, Neal. She left you and she isn’t coming back.”

Neal rips her wrist out of his grip, clenching her hands in her fists to control the trembling she hopes Peter doesn’t notice.

“You don‘t know Kate, and you sure as hell don’t know me,” she hisses, and Diana stops at Peter’s back, startled at the venom in her voice.

Neal turns and walks away, and Peter waves at Jones to let her go.

Not Sure Yet - Andy Lange
I'm not sure yet about life
About love but in time
I'm sure it'll all be fine

For the next several hours, Neal wanders.

Peter texts, and she hits ignore almost viciously. Let him check her damn anklet if he wants to find her so badly.

She's so angry, she can barely see straight, aware in some deep, dark part of her that Peter is right, but still unable to admit the truth to herself, which is why she's so surprised when the door in front of her face opens, revealing Elizabeth Burke on the other side.

Elizabeth smiles, letting Neal inside with a wave of her hand, and Neal sits on the couch, absently running her fingers through Satchmo's fur when he crawls into her lap. Elizabeth doesn't ask questions, just sits at her side, a surprisingly comforting presence.

"Kate isn't coming back is she?" Neal whispers, finally breaking the silence.

Elizabeth sighs. "No," she says, shaking her head. "No, I don’t think she is."

Neal feels the wall breaking down, every emotion held back over the past few months rushing to the surface. She bites her lip, turning her face away, but Elizabeth grabs her hand, squeezing her fingers.

“Neal,” she says quietly, and that’s all it takes for Neal to break.

Neal doesn’t cry - hasn’t since she was a child playing with the boys, scraping her palms and her knees on rough concrete at every opportunity. Working with Mozzie wasn’t much different, the world of cons and thieves a boy’s club that took time, patience, and resilience to penetrate. Her own tears startle her, and she tries to pull away from Elizabeth, tries to bury the emotions back down.

Elizabeth holds her hand tighter, wraps her arm around her shoulders and doesn’t let go. It feels good, to be allowed to be without worry or care or ulterior motives. Neal doesn’t need to analyze every word or tiny gesture - here, she can just be Neal.

Neal glances up when the door opens, and Peter stops, like he hadn’t expected to find her here. Maybe he hadn’t, Neal doesn’t know, nor can she find the energy to care.

Elizabeth murmurs assurances against her temple, smoothing a hand through her hair as she stands; Neal wipes a hand over her face while Elizabeth speaks with him, knowing she probably looks like hell.

Elizabeth disappears up the stairs and Peter dithers in the doorway, pausing a moment before sitting next to Neal on the couch. He claps his hands together.

“You okay?” he asks awkwardly; he doesn’t apologize, but that’s okay because Neal doesn’t either.

She shrugs. “I’m here,” she says, giving him a small but genuine smile.

Peter reaches out, tentatively touching her shoulder, squeezing when she doesn’t pull away. “Yeah, you’re here.”

Date: 2012-08-21 12:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mezzasol.livejournal.com
Though I'm not familiar with the fandom, your blurbs and drabbles were enough to make me download the mix and give it a try! Very awesome!

Date: 2012-08-21 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] airwaveeight.livejournal.com
lovely idea~ downloading the mix now. Neal is so cool, it's a shame I could never get into the fandom. :(

Date: 2012-08-22 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ohleeveeah.livejournal.com
I love White Collar and I love this mix.

Date: 2012-08-22 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hbics.livejournal.com
Ooh this is really intriguing. It kind of makes me want to watch White Collar. I love how you've created fem!Neal.

Date: 2012-08-24 02:01 am (UTC)
mizz_destiny: (default: wings)
From: [personal profile] mizz_destiny
you have NO idea how much I want to watch this show now. I haven't even listened yet!


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