A/N: This is a random one-shot following the events of 'Checkmate'. Totally AU. Its just some random Neal whump age for no reason other than my drug addled mind steered the story in this direction. Please bear with me. Read and Review!

The cold November wind chilled him to the bone as he stood on the terrace, staring out into the night. A sigh escaped his frozen lips as he leant on the cool stonework, resting his head on his arms. He was tired. But like the previous few weeks, he couldn't sleep. A strange combination for sure, he supposed his deep rooted feelings of guilt were responsible for this contradiction.

It was 4 am, Neal let out another sigh. His breath cooling and appearing as condensation in front of him. He pulled his robe tighter around himself, shivering a little as it didn't do much to ward off the chill that had settled deep within his being. It had been two weeks since El's rescue, two weeks since peter had thanked him for helping rescue her. Two weeks of total house arrest after his work was done, two weeks since anyone had looked at him other than the occasional cold or disgusted look he was now at the receiving end of. Two weeks since he had talked to anyone about anything not related to a case. Two weeks of sleepless nights. Two weeks of pure hell.

Mozzie was gone, his only friend had left him because of his betrayal. Because he chose Peter and the FBI before a man who had had his back for nearly a decade and a half. Because he had chosen to be treated like an animal instead of getting a tan on an island somewhere. Neal let out a bitter laugh, he really was stupid for thinking that everything would go back to the way it had been after risking his life to rescue El.

Another cold breeze wildly tossed his hair and he welcomed the cold, welcomed the numbness that accompanied it. Grateful that they had at least let him have the terrace. His studio apartment had started feeling a lot smaller since they had started locking him in and bolting the doors. Diana or Jones- Agent Berrigan or Agent Jones used to come by every morning to unlock him and give him a ride to the bureau, a very awkward ride with no conversations and occasional cold glares directed towards him.

Neal blinked back the exhaustion from his eyes, running a hand over his face as he headed inside. It was time to go get dressed for work. He miserably stifled a yawn and headed off to take a shower.


Reese Hughes looked down at the bullpen, concern pulling his forehead into a frown as he saw Caffrey collide into a wall in the break area. He quickly backed off and continued on his way to the coffee machine, his expression one of total casualness and if Hughes hadn't seen the momentary slip up, he wouldn't have noticed that anything was amiss.

But since he had noticed the clumsy feat performed by the con-man who possessed cat-like reflexes, he kept his eyes opened the whole day for any clues as to what was wrong with the FBI's most precious asset. During the briefing of the most recent case in the conference room, Hughes noticed that caffrey seemed a bit off. His concentration not what it usually was. He couldn't seem to focus on anything in particular, his gaze constantly flickering around the did seem paler, his eyes had dark smudges underneath them. He angles of his face were just a tad sharper than he recalled. Strange but nonetheless nothing serious it seemed, Hughes brushed it off.


Agent Diana Berrigen thought of herself as a fair woman. She tolerated no bullshit, but she was definitely a fair person. So when she spent half an hour waiting for Neal to come out of his ridiculously huge studio apartment to no avail, she felt justified is slamming the door open with a kick, storming inside with all intention of setting caffrey straight. Who the hell did he think he was? He had had a long weekend to catch up on any sleep deficiency that he had. There was absolutely no reason for him to have slept in today of all days, when he had an important undercover operation waiting for him.

Diana continued her internal rant as she looked for the reason for her ire, her eyes were drawn to the terrace where the curtain blew inwards with the cold wind. She headed there, assuming Neal to be having coffee or breakfast outside. What she saw made her blood run cold.

Neal was indeed there, but there was something very, very wrong. He sat in the corner on the floor, his legs outstretched in front of him. An easel had been set up nearby and the painting on it made Diana draw in a sharp breath. It was beautiful and yet horrifying at the same time. It was a painting of Neal's deceased girlfriend, Kate. And she seemed to be reaching out for her, utter desperation and agony on her face as she burned.

Diana tore her gaze from the painting and turned her attention to the seemingly sleeping consultant. She knelt down by him, and tried to find a pulse. She found one, albeit a weak one but it was there. His lips were turning blue, so were the tips of his fingers. She could feel the fever radiating from his body through the thin material of his shirt. Her attempts to rouse him were in vain.

She didn't remember making the call but soon paramedics were there, taking Neal away on a stretcher, pushing her aside gently. She watched, horrified as they took him away, wondering how things has gotten so bad.

A/N: This was intended to be a one-shot. I'm not really happy with how it went. But, oh well. Please review and let me know what you thought. Should I continue it?