Chapter Two: Its 4:03 and I was asleep.

When Neal was jerked awake by the sound of forceful banging, it felt as though only moments had passed sense he had fallen into bed. Looking wildly around he saw that it was now 4:03 in the morning, and someone was banging at his apartment door. Before Neal had a chance to ponder who the invader of the peace might be her herd the unmistakable voice, of one Peter Burke and groaned. 'What the hell did he want?'

"NEAL OPEN UP!! I've been waiting out here long enough! We need to get moving! NEAL OPEN UP NOW!!" Neal tried to replay but found that his throat and evidently his voice were on strike. Grunting he stood and grasped at his bed as his apartment swayed. "NEAL?? NEAL OPEN UP!" Bellowed Peter, if Neal could have he wold have told the FBI agent to just shut up, and that he was coming... Traveling was just a little slow when your eyes are convinced that your floor was rocking like an ocean.

"NEA..." Peter was cut off mid shout when Neal opened the door. Neal tried to clear his throat, "Yes, Peter?" His voice was shot. His mind reeled as it processed the seemingly alien voice. 'Was that really him?' His voice, what little of it he could hear, sounded ragged like he had been screaming and an octave lower then normal. 'Great.'

"Uh...", apparently his partner was surprised by his voice as well, not to mention his over all disheveled appearance. But hay, what the hell did Peter expect at four in the morning? Neal already dressed to the nines, shining with I enthusiasm, and ready to crack the next big case single handily? No, he wouldn't be ready to accomplish any of that that on a normal day without at least two more hours of sleep and at minimum two cups of June's amazing coffee. This morning though it would take a lot more to get him feeling like anything other then walking death.

"Uh... Can I come in?" Peter asked obviously confused. Neal swallowed and gave a grunt when his sore throat disapproved the action. But he nodded and stepped away from the door, wondering towards his kitchen, Peter followed. After his body failed at hacking up a lung, he stumbled drunkenly to a chair and sat down. Peter just stared at him. "You sound lovely." Observed the FBI agent. 'Yup, thank you captain obvious.' he thought. Though all he mustard up as a reply was a weak "Yeah." Peter looked flustered and guilty, and Neal,l who was well beyond sympathy (after all he did drag a sick man out of bed at four o'clock in the morning) decided to rub it in. "Yeah I feel like crap, haven't slept all week between prep for the case and this freaking cold. So are you going to tell me why you where pounding at my door at o' dark thirty, or can I go back to bed?" Neal coughed again and gave a slight groan as head twined.

"Yeah, we got a lead in the case... Jasmine Gordian called and left a message on, 'Mr. Asbury's' cell, she wants to have breakfast with you. Then have you view their merchandise, view your, er, well 'Mr. Canter's' art collection and possibly work out prices and trades. We would be able to see the entire inter workings of their art forgery operation. It's one of the best chances we've got, and I'm going to need you Neal. No one else has spoken with Jasmine yet except you." Peter explained. "Thus why you were banging at my door a few minutes ago?" Neal asked groggily. "Yeah, look Neal we've all been running short on sleep lately, I know this case has been running us raged, but we need you for this one. I promises you can have as many sick days as you need after this. We just need to end this now. This might be our only chance." Neal could see the desperation and the guilt in Peters eyes and sighed. "At least you didn't say cowboy up." Peter laughed slightly. "Go get dressed." Neal just sat there for a moment. "Neal?!" Peter prodded. "Yeah yeah, I'm going... Just waitin' for the room to stop spinning."