Title: Running Ghost

Author: Duma

Disclaimer: The recognizable ER characters belong to Warner Brothers and their Associates. The rest are mine. I am in no way receiving money from this piece of writing- It's just a great way to get feedback while you're trying to become a good writer! So don't sue me... like everyone else I have nothing important to others materially. Unless you count money as being important, and let's face it.... that's just sad... ;)

Archive: Anywhere as long as you ask ;) And if you want to use any of my characters in your story, just ask, too!

Category: DM/Cast

Spoilers: Episodes of Season's 6 and 7 that reveal stuff about DM'S character, so yeah, hardly any, lol ;)

Summary: This is a fic that is unlike any I have read, it explores more creative areas of character history and deals with human nature.

Rating: PG-13, but quite a few dirty words.

Feedback: Please, oh please! I need anything and everything and will love you dearly if you reply, even if it is only one sentence... or one word! I need all I can get! (as I'm sure you can tell by my writing...)

Running Ghost

A battle cry echoed out of nowhere and everywhere at once. Sitting on his brown, muscled horse, sweat glistened through the now smeared red, black and white war paint. His arm was raised up, holding a spear with three feathers. The wind blew back his long hair, caressing his skin as he felt its familiar, energizing power. Another war cry ripped from his throat as he began to charge into the battle below. He was hit by a wave of excitement, sorrow and fear.

He yelped as he bolted upright, covered in sweat. He breathed heavily for a moment, letting the familiar surroundings of his room comfort him. He looked at the clock on his nightstand. 6:00. He still had two hours before he had to start work. He moaned as he lay back down and dropped his right arm over his eyes. "Not again..." he whispered. Knowing that he couldn't get back to sleep he got up and trudged over to the shower. Some warm water would feel nice.

As he let the soothing liquid run down his relaxed face he remembered his dream: a sea of emotions that always made him wake up in a cold sweat. He hated the feeling of fear that he was reminded of in his dream. Helpless fear like that was the worst thing in the world- at least he held it in that light.

As he dried off and came back into his bedroom he could see the light of a promising day out the window. It pushed back the emotions and fears that could seemingly hold him hostage throughout the night. He grabbed a pair of jeans and a T-shirt then clicked on the radio as he comfortably fell into routine and the true vivacity of his life settled upon him.

"Carter, I've got a hairline fracture in two," Kerry extended the chart as John spoke. "I've got it..." he grabbed the chart as he passed by.

Randi covered the receiver of the phone. "Greene, I've got a doctor in New York on line one who says you called him?"

"Yeah," Mark muttered as he went for the phone.

Dave appeared and Weaver shoved a chart into his hands as she limped by. "Geeze, what's eatin' her?"

Randi blew a bubble and popped it. "She's been like that all morning. I guess Gabe Lawrence is coming to visit."

"You mean that nice old alsthimers guy?"

"That's the one," she replied distractedly, typing on the keyboard.

Not really caring to instigate further conversation he turned at Jing-Mei's voice. "Dr Chen, you look nice today," he smiled and plastered on his cocky expression as he noticed Jing-Mei was sporting a ponytail.

"You don't," she muttered as she reached past him to get a chart.

"Malucci! Get to work!" Weaver's voice came out of nowhere and he hoped that he'd hidden his measurable jump of surprise. "Yes ma'am," he said, as good-naturedly as always as he walked to curtain three, systematically isolating his senses from the patient he was about to see. It was a process he was used to and relied on. He didn't know how any doctor could live remembering the names of each patient; actually knowing who they were. He'd jump off a bridge before he let himself get that far-gone. He knew himself, and he knew he couldn't handle caring- bonding with each patient. Not only was it emotionally draining, but also it would add more pain and guilt to his life- something that he was desperately trying to avoid.

"Hello Mr... O'Connor, I'm Dr. Dave," he spoke cheerfully as he looked at the chart. "What seems to be the problem?"

"I've been having these pains in my lower back that just won't go away. This morning I had trouble getting out of bed."

"So did I," Dave grinned at the middle-aged, balding man. Mr. O'Connor laughed.

"Have you performed any strenuous activities lately?" Dave asked.

"Not really. I mean, just recently I got in trouble at work and now find myself doing a lot of filing- bending and crouching a lot."

"Hmmm... You ever exercise, you know, work out Mr. O'Connor?" he tried to keep his stance non-judgmental.

"Well, no. I've got a wife and two kids and unless you count carrying a five-year-old, I guess not. I've got a mortgage to pay and with work... I've been under a lot of stress lately."

"I see," Dave scribbled on the chart. "Well, I'm gonna order some tests for you and a nurse will be in shortly to take you up to X-ray. In the meantime I suggest you start getting more exercise. It relieves stress and strong abs mean a lot less backaches."

Mr. O'Connor nodded. "Thanks, I'll consider that."

"Sure thing," Dave replied as he smiled and left to tell one of the nurses.

The rest of the day passed fairly slowly and usual for the ER. Normal for Dave meant the predictable situation of another staff member realizing their mortality. Today it was John. After having been taught some Spanish pick-up lines by Dave he had wound up with a bloody nose. The new Hispanic nurse obviously didn't enjoy being greeted as "la puta flaca," or roughly translated in English, the skinny whore. Lucky for Dave his shift ended just as Chuni sat John down in Exam 2, stuffing his hands full of Kleenex. Dave merely slipped by and waltzed out the door, winking at John as he did so and happy that he couldn't understand whatever nasal and muttered threats John threw at him through the tissue.

"Poor guy," Dave muttered to himself as he unchained his bike. 'I'll have to hook her up with him later on or somethin',' he thought.

His hockey game started late because the rink was double booked, and by the time he got home most of Chicago was sleeping and he was exhausted.

The hallway to his apartment was dark and he could hear the muffled news report coming form 12A. Old Mrs.Ganshaw stayed up until eleven every night just to make sure Russia wasn't going to bomb the U.S. while she slept.

He keyed the door and threw his duffel bag to the side by the coat hook before squirming out of his jacket and turning on the lights. A wave of adrenaline hit him as he noticed a figure in a chair watching an extremely quiet hockey game. His eyes darted to the empty beer bottles and immediately the dark feeling of dread settled over his heart as fear choked his throat.

"Hello, David," a voice said as the figure got up and turned towards him. "It's been a long time."