doctor_fangeek: (Matt TNH 1)
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Title: The Greatest Lies
Author: doctor_fangeek
Rating: G
Characters/Pairings: Mozzie, with a bit of Neal and the Burke family (including little Neal)
Word Count:756
Warnings: None
Summary: Post-series. Mozzie ruminates on truth and the lies we tell ourselves
Authors Note: My runthecon Round Three contribution, for the prompt "the truth sets you free" from [livejournal.com profile] angelita26. The comm is a flash writing challenge, where participants post their fic and tag the next person, who then has 24 hours from the time of the tagging to write and post their own story. The round two theme was "Minor Characters." This was written almost entirely in an hour and a half block (over a breakfast sandwich and tea at a local bakeshop). Apologies for any errors or inconsistencies.

The greatest lies a conman tells are the ones he tells himself.

Mozzie had directed that admonition at Neal more than a few times while the other man was on his electronic leash and Moz watched as his friend grew increasingly attached to Suit and his wife. Not that the Burkes weren’t good people, but Mozzie knew – convincing yourself you belong only leads to heartbreak. The fewer ties, the better. Happily ever after, as he had reminded Neal, wasn’t for “guys like us.”

This was hard won wisdom.

Mozzie learned it when he was just a few years old, as soon as he was old enough to understand that his parents had abandoned him as an infant, leaving him on the steps of a church.

Eventually he’d figured it out…his parents were spies, and it wasn’t that he wasn’t loved or wanted. They were protecting him…only to learn the same lesson again when he was twelve. He’d finally gotten a family. Good, decent people who cared for him. He was wanted. He had a real home. Right up until his step brother decided that there were one too many people in the family, stole his mother’s favorite necklace, the one that had belonged to his great-grandmother, and set Mozzie up to take the fall. What had he been thinking? He wasn’t “family material.” Well, he didn’t need them anyway. He left and didn’t look back. He also promised himself he wouldn’t let anyone else in. The life of a con man helped with that. He was his own man, beholden to none. Until he got careless. He should have known better. He did know better.

And then he learned his lessons all over again in his early 20’s when his on-again off-again partner of four years, a man he’d come to trust to be at his back, took off with both their shares of a score and left Mozzie holding the bag, so to speak (except that the “bag” was empty). Moz was lucky to avoid the clutches of the establishment dogs. He wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

It was hard won wisdom (and let’s not even think about Mozzie’s wife), and if he could help Neal avoid his mistakes, he would. The fewer ties the better. Happily ever after and all that.

Until Mozzie learned it all over again, when his best friend chose the Suit and New York over an island paradise and their dream of one last big score. But okay…dreams change...he could come to terms with that. And it’s not as if Mozzie didn’t like New York. Not that he was attached of course. Sure, June was the best, and Mrs. Suit had a terrific tea selection and a beauty and wit that the Suit probably didn’t deserve. But Mozzie could take it all or leave it.

And then, his best friend faked his own death and fled across an ocean. And kept Mozzie in the dark about it. And it occurred to him that maybe Neal had learned his lessons better than Mozzie himself. Don’t be tied down. Don’t expect a happy ending.


“Moz?”

Mozzie looked up from where he was sitting in an Adirondack chair on the back porch of the Burke house. Neal was frowning.

“You’re wool gathering, again, Moz. Everything okay? Little Neal is asking for Uncle Mozzie. I think he’s figured out that you’re secretly a croquet shark.”

“Just thinking, mon frère,” Moz replied, looking past Neal to where Suit Jr. was staring down a wicket with a determined look on his face, his mother and father looking on with goofy smiles on their faces. Well, the Suit’s smile was goofy. Mrs. Suit was looking lovely, as usual, and rightly proud of her son.

Neal quirked an eyebrow at him. Of course Neal looked right at home at Casa Suit, the suburban edition, in jeans, no less, and a deep blue polo. And of course Neal hadn’t left, some five years ago, because he wanted to cut all his ties. He’d left because of those ties, to protect them all.

“About?” Neal finally asked.

“About happy endings.” Moz really didn’t want to talk about it, about the truths he’d thought he’d known, about the lies he’d told himself. No sense tempting fate.

Thankfully, Neal seemed to understand – as he so often did – and didn’t press. He just smiled and said, “You just have to know when to stop the story, right? So, how about you help my namesake show his father how this game is played?”
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