Just a heads up - 1st Fiction, 1st FanFiction, 1st White Collar FanFic
Lots of reference and report writing. Bad for typos. Spelling sucks. Worse I'll sub in the wrong word altogether.
So, my apologies in advance for any errors. I went over several times but not Beta'd.
Reviews are open, please be gentle, let me know what you think, like, don't like, errors, suggestions.

Thanks to Jeff Eastin, WhiteCollar cast/crew and UsaNetwork for sharing with us. For allowing us all some diversion. For others the honing of talents. And letting us mess with their characters.

Couldn't help getting into the aliases. See UsaNetwork for each alias - passports, drivers license.

Each alias leads into a story about Neal under his assumed character name.

Cheers!


ON BEING GEORGE DEVORE

George Devore was born December 25th, 1976 in Nogales, Arizona, USA.

George Devore had an unremarkable childhood. His family was financially secure , okay very secure.
He had attended Chicago's Layola only at his family's insistence.
At 22 he'd acquired a business degree and a passport.
He then started travelling world-wide to acquire art works for his family's business, B.B. Atlantic Partners, and for their own private collections.
Of course he also enjoyed all the perks of travel and an unlimited expense account. As long as he met a few family requirements, he could come and go as he pleased.
This meant having no specific work schedule, which resulted in a lot of idle time. This could only be filled so much with jet set "art collecting".
So, he dabbled a little in "reselling questionably acquired works of art" (aka fencing) to those in more elite circles. Which lead to "creating" (aka forging) supporting documents for works of art.

George Devore was used to living the high life. He looked younger than his given age, with soft messed hair, dark, and twinkling blue eyes.
He always looked comfortable, relaxed, like he had no cares or concerns.

George Devore was bored, always looking for excitement. He liked liquor, women and anything fast. He stayed away from drugs and the more seedy things of life.
He liked excitement not danger. Yet excitement often went hand and hand with danger and those seedy things of life. He accepted this as a simple fact of his existence.


George Devore was Neal Caffrey's first true alias, with all the bells and whistles.
The history and documents.
The photographs and memories.
The trials and tribulations of a young man growing up in Arizona, then attending university in Chicago and working for the family business.

People always wanted the bells and whistles, without them they had no security. When people gave you their history, talked about family, their lives, they wanted something in return. They wanted a means to gauge the person in front of them. They needed the bells and whistles to have confidence in the person before them. And, confidence, after all, was Neal's game.

Now Neal knowing this, had always wondered why everyone was so insistent on knowing his own personal history.

Would it really make any difference as to how they saw him now, in this moment.

Did people find some morbid comfort in knowing that someone's history was abusive, as if that could justify their current behaviour, especially illegal behaviour. Neal knew people with horribly abusive pasts. They didn't use it to justify who they were now, they were successful in their own right. One "friend" now ran a shelter and offered help to others less fortunate. People didn't constantly want to delve into her past, they just accepted her for who she was today.

Or maybe those that questioned would be happy if they could find blame in parents who had given their son everything except the ability to understand consequences for ones actions. But that wasn't Neal either. Neal was who he was right now at this moment, and right now he was George Devore. George Devore took responsibility for every action he ever took and ever would take. Not of course that he ran around admitting to what he did, only a fool would do that and he certainly was far form being a fool.

Neal just didn't blame anyone else for what he did, and certainly not for who he was at this moment.

Neal simply saw no need to explain who he was and why he had become George Devore, or any other assumed alias. At least not until several years later, when for some inexplicable reason he felt overwhelming compelled to confide in a federal agent. The man who would spend several years tracking him and jail him, only to become one of the few people Neal had ever trusted in his life.

Trust was another thing Neal had found vague. Lots of people talked about trust, few actually employed it in its most honest sense.

So, if someone was willing to trust George Devore, Neal was more than willing to oblige and use that misplaced trust to his advantage.

Neal shivered and pulled himself away from his rambling thoughts.

George Devore stepped away from the edge of the balcony, his hands thrust into his pockets, the soft smile and twinkling eyes catching the attention of the nearest party goers. Their warm smiles and appreciative looks radiating back to Devore. He didn't quit skip down the stairs but he did so with such ease that he looked more like he glided down the circular staircase than stepped. His unabashed confidence soon caught the attention of Devore's mark.

Varos Iapetos Ralli picked up another goblet of wine and walked towards George Devore.

He stopped, glancing up and down the young man, before offering Devore the glass of Limnio.

"You like what you see?"

"And then some," came the coy answer.

George Devore didn't meet the other man's eyes but looked around, as if savouring every thing his eyes came to rest on. In fact Devore was checking out every inch of security. From the HD cameras to the armed, but very low key guards, to the small blinking lights on several upstairs windows. Devore abruptly stopped his savouring review and met the other man's eyes, his face only inches from Varos's.

"It's to easy," George whispered.

Varos pulled back, starring at the stranger so close to him, "To easy for what?"

"To fall in love." George had moved close into Varos again, intentionally letting the man question the statement. Varos narrowed his eyes but George didn't allow him time for a response.

George Devore stepped back, lavishly spreading his arms, almost spinning with his head tipped back.

"... to fall in love with all of this."

Devore continued to gesture at everything and nothing.

"How do you not get lost in all this beauty? Doesn't it make you drunk with desire?"

George's face was again mere inches from Varos', his eyes twinkling, he widened them briefly with a Cheshire Cat grin.

Varos stepped back, looked George Devore up and down again.

Varos broke into a hearty laugh.

"My young friend what do you know of love or desire or beauty?"

Varos suddenly became more serious, lowering his tone, "Or what it takes to obtain such beauty."

George fastened an apologetic look on his face.

Varos quickly threw an arm across George's shoulders and pulled him towards a group of seated men and women.

George Devore had waited for Varos Ralli to move away from this close knit group to mingled with his guests as a dutiful host. He had carefully timed his descent down the stairs with the movements of his mark through the tangle of party goers. Now he was being lead back to Varos' elite group of friends.

George Devore just had to continue to balance his confidence and awe of his surroundings to convince Varos that he was someone interesting, that posed no threat and ultimately could be trusted, in as much as Varos trusted anyone.
He trusted his few friends.
He trusted the guards and his elaborate security system.
He trusted his own judge of character.
So, Varos would trust that George Devore was safe, confident yes, but young and naive.

George Devore attended several of Varos gatherings. He was also invited to a few more intimate events. Varos watched him intently. His mouth curling only slightly into a whimsical smile at the young mans antics. Devore seemed to captivate every woman he came in contact with, followed by the men who seemed equally captivated by the charismatic young man.

George Devore talked about his youth in Arizona. He liked football, hated basketball. He'd gone to university in Chicago for a business degree. George however preferred sociology, as in the study of every ongoing social gathering and socialite on campus. Now he travelled for his families business. They had several real estate holdings and a few small boutique hotels. George liked the sheer luxury of the hotels, he described them in detail. His audience always asked curious questions. "Where the bed linens Egyptian cotton or silk?" "Did they have king sized beds?" "How big was the tub?" George obliged, his eyes twinkling, his smile inviting, flirtatious but always with a naive innocence.

Varos liked having the vitality of youth around him.
He liked interesting people.
He liked George Devore.
Devore was like having a living piece of art wandering around his estate, a statue come alive for his pleasure and that of his guests.

George Devore new exactly where Varos' taste ran for art and people. Every action, every word was carefully orchestrated to cultivate Varos interest and trust in him.

After three weeks of cavorting, George Devore was a comfortable fixture at the Villa de Palia of Varos Iapetos Ralli.

The fourth week, Varos had a lavish party planned for the evening of the 23rd, his 50th Birthday.
He also had a lavish present arriving for his birthday.
He'd tracked the item down after several years of hunting and acquired it only two months ago.
He'd shown it to Devore the night before his party.

"What do you think?" Varos swept his right hand in front of the painting. His left arm draped casually over George's shoulders.

"Well, uh, it's not very big."

Varos dropped both arms down and stood in front of George glaring.

"Not big, not big, I thought you knew about art?"

"I know about art. How to buy it. How to sell it. What looks right on a wall."

George Devore worked to ensure he sounded a little indignant, hurt not snobbish, in his retort.

Varos continued to glare at him, then burst into laughter. George looked perplexed.

"You know art but you real don't get art, do you?"

"What?" George continued to keep the naive dance in full swing.

"Art isn't just about how it looks on a wall. It's about how it makes you feel, how it reflects on you."

Varos was waving his arms about know, as if his arm flaying would make George comprehend his words better.

George continued with a puzzled look.

Varos moved in close to him.

"It makes me feel very wealthy." He all but purred.

Varos pulled back.

"Now look at the damn thing!" and with that he shoved George within inches of the painting.

Neal looked at every brush stroke, every colour hue, the way the light danced off the woman's face. He smiled at the tiny strand of pearls around her neck, they were barely wisps of white on the board, yet they stood out and sparkled with the same light, He could see the weave of the fabric in her dress, every crinkle, every stitch, the ruffling of lace at her collar. The back ground in perfect synch with the era and a lady of stature. The signature perfectly executed in the corner, di Poggibonsi.

Neal caught himself and quickly brought back George Devore.

"It's pretty," George glanced at Varos.

"It looks classic." Another quick glance.

"French?"

"Oh, God" Varos implored and stated in the same breath.

"I have a degree in business, not art," George implored back.

Varos snorted. "Do you like it?"

"Oh, yes of course" came George Devore's, almost child-like, excited answer.

Varos rolled his eyes and threw his arm back across George's shoulder. He hugged him roughly with the one arm.

"Don't change."

George looked at Varos again questioning.

"So many would say what they think I want to here. You. You just say what pops into your head. No thought. No manipulation. No conniving. Perfection, absolute perfection. Don't change." He gave George another one armed hugged, then pushed at the back of his head tussling his hair. They walked into the main living area both men talking about unrelated topics, laughing, at ease with each other.

George Devore smiled inward, perfection was right, for both him and the painting. Perfectly executed.

Varos party went as planned the following evening. His guests were in awe at the painting, admiring it and Varos taste in fine art. His guests brought varied gifts for Varos, although he had asked for none to be given.

George Devore drank. He was a wonderfully happy drunk. Beaming at those around him. He was forgiven any slights or missteps. The other guest who had come to know him let George wrap himself around them, draped across the shoulders of men and women alike, laughing with bottle in one hand and glass in the other. He extolled Varos' taste in art and ability to throw one hell of a damn, good party.

George Devore did something he rarely did, he sang. His voice sweet, drunken, he managed to hit every note. Varos raised his glass up to him with an appreciative smile.

When he could barely stand Varos had one of his "associates" put Devore in a guest bedroom. He was out cold before the guard left him, unattended in his drunken slumber.

George Devour spent much of the next day at Varos' Villa de Palia.
He dined with Varos.
Swam in the infinity pool that overlooked the Aegean sea.
He continued to charm the other guest who had remained overnight.

It was late into the night before he returned to his hotel in the centre of Firi, Santorini.

Neal new they would come for him. He was expecting it. As the newest "friend" of Varos Iapetos Ralli, George Devore would be one of their first suspects. He'd been given access to the house and the opportunity had been there. He expected no less than for Varos to immediately question him.

George Devore's hands were yanked roughly behind him, he tried not to flinch.

They'd torn his hotel room apart checking every inch of the room.

They pulled all his belongings apart and cut into a couple of pieces of luggage, the man doing so flipping the knife dangerously close to Devore's face. Devore pulled back, which only served to produce a look of satisfaction from the man.

They kept the conversation short picking up his passport and travel documents.

He was calmly pushed through the hotel lobby into a waiting sedan. Devore was soon at Varos estate.

The man with the knife pushed him down abruptly into a solid wooden chair.

Varos sat across from him.

Varos' stare alone would have broken many a soul.

George kept his eyes fixed on the man with a questioning look.

He knew better than to challenge such men. Men of money and power often had a temper to match their wealth.

Neal knew Varos would send men looking. He knew that if he hoped to escape, he first had to be caught. Makes sense huh. It does with men that have enough money they can chase you halfway around the planet to do more than break your knee caps. So, to escape George Devore had to be caught to convince Varos that he was the naive young charmer he had meet a month ago.

Varos brought a hand sharply across Devore's face.

George looked up at Varos, blood wetting his lower lip.

George kept his eyes fixed on Varos. He had long practised the forlorn look - just enough sadness to suggest he was hurt that Varos would suspect him of anything - enough of a pained look to suggest that he could not believe that Varos would have struck him - with just a hint of questioning of what was going on.

"Why?" Varos demanded. Now standing over Devore

George shook his head "Why what?".

Varos back handed Devore again.

"No questions, I want my painting!"

"I. ... I." George fixed Varos with his questioning look again, "Please. I. ... I. ... Don't understand"

Varos brought his hand up.

George closed his eyes and turned his head to the side. Grimacing. He hoped his actions would convey the right message of innocence.

"Give me his documents".

Varos sifted through the papers. The passport confirmed George Devore's identity. The plane ticket was for tens days from now, business class. The original booking with no changes. Booked nearly 3 months ago. A month before Varos' Poggibonsi painting had arrived.

Varos looked from the papers to Devore and back again.

He sat down with a heavy sigh, throwing the papers on the table next to him.

Dejected, frustrated.

He waived his men off George.

George tentatively looked around at Varos.

Varos sat forward on the edge of his large leather chair.
He rested his hands on his knees.
He looked long and hard at George Devore.
Sizing him up again.

George kept quiet.
He waited for Varos to give him some indication that he was free to talk.
That he was no longer suspect.

Varos sighed again.

"Get out." was all he whispered.

He reached around for the papers and threw them at George.

George picked them up hastily.
He kept his eyes on Varos.
He opened his mouth once making it seem that he thought better of it.
He dropped his head and quickly retreated.

Ten days can seem like forever when your waiting to run. The longest starting pistol in the world with a slow motion start.

George Devore made the most of the ten days he had left on the Greek Island of Santorini.
He played tourist.
He partied at some of the local clubs.
He went sight seeing, visiting Oia, Firostefani, and Imerrovigli, enjoying the Cycladic architecture and incredible sunsets, along with the many museums galleries and caf├ęs.
He even took a boat tour of the volcano of Nea and Palia Kameni.

On day ten George Devore boarded his flight.

George Devore sat in First Class, a flash of a smile and flirtatious chat having garnered him an upgrade.

George Devore sat next to a sedate looking man with glasses.

He made small talk with the man next to him.

When the stewardess brought champagne, George Devore took the bottle.

He nodded to the man next to him, who held his glass up.

George then filled his own glass and raised it up.

He "ka-chinged" his glass to the other man's, smiling like a Cheshire Cat having just caught the Queen of Hearts.

"Cheers Mozzie!"

Mozzie tapped the plastic tube next to him, the three paintings secure inside, and beamed back at Neal.


.

Epilog

Eight months later, Varos Ralli smiled as he sat in front of his perfect painting once again.

A month prior to that the painting had found its way into the hands of a unscrupulous art dealer.
He offered the painting to Varos, knowing the man's intense interest in the painting.
Fourteen days ago the dealer was visited by three of Varos' "associates".
The dealer had been lucky to walk away, as it were, with two broken legs and a shattered wrist and hand. Varos wasn't about to pay for what was already his.

Varos savoured every bit of the painting.

He was initially upset at some of the damage to the back of the board but was relieved to find that none of the value of the painting had been diminished.
The dealer had assured his "associates" of that after his first leg was broken.

Had Varos really known how much the value of the painting had been diminished his fury would have resulted in the maiming of several "associates".

Varos' painting was truly a study in Renaissance art, as reflected by a perfectly accomplished art forger, one Neal Caffrey.

Why forge a painting you already posses?

Simple, the self proclaimed owner will stop pursuing the painting.

And, ... well, Varos had really been hospitable to George Devore. It was the least Neal could do.

Well, particularly considering that Varos was now the owner of not one, but three, semi-original Neal Caffrey's. The other two had been forged prior to George Devore's arrival on Santorini. They had been carefully switched over the course of George Devore's entrenchment into Varos' realm. The third, and now switched, painting had been an unexpected bonus. It had also been the reason Neal had moved his schedule up by eleven days, which coincided with Varos' birthday bash. The party of course resulted in a highly "intoxicated" George Devore.

Fortunately, George Devore was a wonderfully happy drunk who really didn't get art.


(for fun check out di Poggibonsi, or the lack there of)