Neross: Welcome back my sick little darlings! Did you all have a wonderful holiday? Well I hope you had one as wonderful as mine my dears. And in case you didn't then I hope this next chapter makes up for it. But please take note my darlings this chapter may be quickly followed by the next one...or it may be some time until the next. You see...I have a very important birthday coming up in March...and I will be celebrating it by spending a week and a half in Vegas. So if you want the next installment my dears than I suggest you tell me how I'm doing and what you think of my illustrious writing.

But until then my dears please enjoy Chapter 7.

Warning: This fanfiction contains violence, inappropriate language, adult situations, graphic imagery, sexual situations, disturbing imagery, and general slashy goodness. Enjoy my sick little darlings.

...

Danny wanted to forget all about his trip to the mental hospital. Wanted to forget all about the wild little russian boy he'd met there. He wanted to forget the ghost who'd brought such rage and blood thirst out of him. And mostly he wanted to forget the deaths that now weighed on his conscious. Not only Alexis' death, but the death of his doctor...and of his parents. Because if Danny had just made sure that that made little boy had made his way back inside...then none of them would be dead now.

The detective had wanted to believe that Alexis would be alright. That freeing him from the presence of the ghost would be enough to set him to rights. But Danny had been wrong. And now he had to make peace with the deaths that were on his hands. It made him lose what little sleep he had after his now nightly nightmare. The only saving point, the only thing that made his days worthwhile, were the visits from his investor.

After their trip up north Vlad now spent a great deal of his time with the half ghost. And Danny was grateful for it. The billionaire bachelor helped him keep his mind off the things that plagued him in the night with witty conversations and fine afternoons spent outside of his office. However, all good things come to an end. And, much to Danny's dismay, the end came by his own doing.

Truly, it was mostly the lack of sleep that made his situation spin out of control, but in the end he had no one to blame but himself.

It happened one day when Danny sat, his head bowed before his computer screen, trying to get his taxes in order before the spring finally erupted from the last days of March. He had hoped to have them finished before Vlad came by (they'd made plans earlier that week to take a trip to the metropolitan library) but sadly Danny's sluggish brain simply could not make sense of the numbers blinking away on his screen. His eyes were constantly begging to close and his head felt like it was filled with sand...but he resisted the sleep that ate at him.

And then, as if from beside him, a voice whispered in his ear. "Why stay awake? Just a short nap wouldn't hurt anyone. Who would know?"

The detective's brow knitted together. That was wrong...something...was wrong. Yet he couldn't think what it was and he heard himself mumble "Who...would know?" He leaned back in his chair and let his eyes drift shut. He wasn't asleep...not yet. But...he must be...because he felt warm...as if a blanket had been placed over him and he felt a gentle and warm embrace surround his shoulders as that sweet voice drifted once more into his ear. "Yes Danny...who would know? Sleep awhile...sweet dreams await."

In the back of his mind Danny thought that the voice was wrong. That the whole situation was...wrong. But he ignored it, after all, what harm could a little sleep do? And he began to drift off. He was so close to that realm of dreams, his body growing numb and immobile...when he was shocked out of his drowsiness by the sharp sound of his doorbell ringing and a familiar accented voice chiming in his head. "The ticking clock rings like warning."

He jolted awake and jumped from his chair, gasping and panting. Feeling as if he'd just been pulled from the depths of a frozen pond. His body shuddered and shook and cold sweat rolled from his brow. He felt like he was going to be sick. But with another ring of his doorbell Danny shook off the feeling and trotted down his stairs. He came to the door on the third ring and opened the door with urgency, smiling because he was expecting to see his friend and investor.

Instead Danny was met with a person he had not seen in quite some time. He stared blatantly for a good minute, confused at first by what he was seeing. Before finally he shook his head in surprise and stepped back from the door. "Britt?" Danny asked, staring at the sight of a grinning, petite, blue-eyed, red headed woman standing on his doorstep.

The singer nodded and shifted her feet as she looked up at the dark-haired halfa. "Hey Danny. Long time no see. Do you mind if I come in?" she asked him her grin settling into a sheepish smile. Danny stared for a moment and then looked beyond the red-head to the snow-lined streets behind her before nodding absently and muttering some non-commital answer before he stepped to the side and allowed her entry. She shut the door behind her since Danny was already retreating to the kitchen to pour a couple cups of coffee.

His body running on auto-pilot Danny tried to put his thoughts in order. First and foremost he simply could not seem to remember what he'd been doing before Britt came and rang his doorbell. Had he been sleeping? Strange...he never slept at his desk if he could help it no matter how little sleep he'd had. No, he must've just dozed off for a second. More important was the appearance of the lesbian rock singer in his house. For the life of him Danny simply could not understand why Vlad's god-daughter would come to see him.

He was so lost in his thoughts that he never heard Britt enter the kitchen until he felt her hand on his arm. He jumped, and spilled the coffee in his hands. Thankfully his spill restrained itself to the kitchen counter and not to his clothes, or worse, his skin. She stepped back from him as he swore and reached for the roll of paper towels sitting on the rack below one of his cabinets. As he began to mop up the coffee on his counter he could feel her eyes boring into the back of his skull.

He attempted to ignore the feeling, but after awhile it was clear that that was going to be impossible. So he let out a sigh and at last turned to see her staring at him with a look filled with both sympathy and understanding. She placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and drew him away from the counter while she took to finishing what he had started. "Not sleeping much are you?" she speculated, her slight irish tilt more noticeable now than it had been months before. Back when she'd been skinny, haunted, and worn down by the sadistic haunting of her suicidal friend and secret crush.

Danny took in a deep breath and leaned against the side of the counter clean of coffee and crossed his arms across his chest. "No...I'm not." he admitted. She nodded, as if she already knew and finished wiping up the rest of the spilled coffee. "Sorry about dropping by so suddenly...I know you were expecting Uncle Vlad."

Danny frowned to himself, disappointed in his own behavior. He looked up at her, apology already tripping out of his mouth. "No! I mean, I am...but I don't mind that you stopped by." She threw away the dirtied paper towels before turned a small and rather bemused smile in his direction. "It's alright." she said, tucking her hands into the pockets of her jeans. "I know you were disappointed when it was me at the door and not him. You're particularly easy ta read ya know." Danny's cheeks turned a slight shade of pink in embarrassment before he quickly shook his head and leveled Britt with a serious stare.

"So why did you stop by Britt? I mean, I didn't even know you knew where I lived." He watched as her small smile fell into something of a thin line and she looked away from him, to the mess of newspaper, bills, and half-read magazines piled over his kitchen table. She pushed some of the papers aside and stared at an article about the newest big movie to come out before at last she turned to look at him again, her blue eyes a bit worried.

"I guess it's stupid," She told him quietly,"You'd think I'd know by now to stop worrying 'bout these sorts of things. But...I guess I was wonderin' if...if you could tell me if my new beau is cursed."

Danny blinked in surprise. He wasn't quite sure how to react to this news. So he fell into routine and pulled out a seat at his table, gesturing for her to make herself comfortable if she needed to. "You're seeing someone?" he asked, his lips twitching up in a smirk despite himself. She shot him a look back, a wry and sarcastic grin moving to frame her face. "Yeah. And me brother hates him. Says he's the worst kind of loser and I was better off with the murderous, bitch ghost that tried to off me."

Danny chuckled briefly until something registered with him and his expression turned purely curious, if slightly confused. "Wait...him? You're dating a guy? So...and I'm sorry if this sounds rude...are you bisexual?"

She laughed loudly, her tone richer and much nicer than when Danny had last seen her. She shook her head and took a seat across from him, folding her hands on the table before her. "Well ta be honest I don't particularly care 'bout my partners gender ...or lack of one for that matter. M'pretty sure they're calling it Pansexual now...but who the fuck can keep track right?" She laughed again at the look on Danny's face. "Yeah...I get that a lot." she sounded pleased.

Danny's smile became awkward as he studied the enigmatic woman before him. "So what makes you think your boyfriend is cursed?"

Her face twisted through a series of emotions. First concentration, then frustration, and then resignation before she finally sighed and gave a large shrug of her shoulders. "Odd things mostly. Lights going out fer no reason. Things fallin' off shelves when he walks by. Once, the microwave exploded after he passed by it. Just...odd things." She didn't sound too concerned, but she bit her lip anyway and stared at her hands instead of the halfa sitting across from her.

Danny's lips twitched slightly, unsure whether to smile in understanding or frown in concern. He opted for the smile, it had been awhile since he'd had an excuse to do so. "If you're worried about it then bring him by sometime. If he really is cursed I should be able to tell."

Britt smiled awkwardly in return. "Thanks. I'd appreciate it." she stared at him for a moment and then stared sadly down at her hands. "Jazz told me about the incident at the Mental Institution. I don't know if it means anything but...I'm sorry you had to go through that. And...I owe you a lot. So...if you need anything..just...just let me know alright? I may not be able to offer much, and I'm a mess myself most of the time." She stopped for a moment, scratched at her hair behind her ear and then leveled the private investigator with a serious and almost desperate stare. "But you're the one who taught me that it's better to talk about the things in your life that have gone to shit."

Danny was taken aback and he forced himself to seriously consider the woman sitting across from him. She was determined, serious, and a little stubborn...a lot like her godfather. The half-ghost smiled warmly at her and tiredly nodded his head. "Thanks Britt. I...I think I'll take you up on that sometime."

...

Britt stayed for awhile afterwards and she and Danny shared a comfortable conversation about her new album and her new boyfriend. And then, when the conversation dipped into Danny's everyday doings, he received a phone call. It was Vlad, irritated and swearing about a last minute meeting with his stock-holders. From the sound of it, things weren't going as well as Vlad would have liked. Still the billionaire apologized for having to put off their plans and reassured the detective that he'd come by later that night. Danny assured him that he'd taken no offense, despite his disappointment, and was rather embarrassed when he caught Britt shooting him a rather wicked smirk over the rim of the coffee cup she'd been nursing.

The detective had blushed furiously afterwards and bid Vlad goodbye rather quickly in order to cover the nervous tone in his voice. Britt stood as soon as Danny hung up and took her own farewells of the detective. She smiled and chuckled and patted him on the arm and told him she'd be back later the week with her boyfriend for a 'consultation'. And then she was gone as suddenly as she had come.

The detective sighed as he closed the door behind his surprise visitor and found he was rather remise to be without company. The exhaustion from earlier washed over him as he forced himself to trudge upstairs. He'd only gotten halfway to his office however when he felt as if he could no longer move another step. And it was to his good fortune that he had come to a halt outside of his bedroom. With a deep breath of longing the detective turned in to his room and forced his tired, dragging, feet to pull him to his bed. He fell back on the large king-sized bed and had barely managed to drag himself up to lay his head upon his pillow when he felt his eyes beg to close.

Warmth washed over him and from somewhere in the dark the detective swore he heard someone whisper to him as his body took over the numbness and lethargy of sleep. "That's it detective...sleep it all away...You need a well-earned rest. The world will go on without you...sleep."

Danny drifted off.

...

In an instant Danny felt himself being pulled from the grips of beautiful dreamless sleep as if being pulled from the womb. He gasped as air ached in his lungs. He chocked and then drank in the strange stale air around him like a glass of water. A glass of water that had been standing out for too long. The brunette became aware of the sound of a thousand clocks ticking all around him. Fear gripped him. The dream. It must be the dream. He braced himself for the horror of violent hands and the cacophony of terrified voices. But neither came. Instead all that happened was the gentle ticking all around him and the feel of the cold floor beneath him slowly seeping in through his clothes.

The detective calmed himself and forced himself to look around. The smell of dust accosted him...the smell like time itself, and another smell, one he faintly recognized as metal and sun-streaked sand gently wafted after. The room he stood in was large, built like a cathedral, with towering ceilings and large, round, windows in the shape of gears showered him in an odd green light. Danny heard the cherished sound of wood beneath his feet as he took a step to the right and was pleasantly surprised to see the intricately carved hard wood underneath his feet. He was in awe of the building, but frightened because he was no longer sure he was in a dream. And because the building itself was much too familiar.

"Why...do I feel like I've been here before?" the detective muttered, reaching down to trace one line of a carving beneath his feet.

"Because you have been." A voice answered him, deep and fathomless.

Danny jumped and spun on his heel coming face to face with a ghost that struck fear into him instantly. Red eyes, blue skin, a cloak as deep purple as the sky at sunset stood before him. The half-ghost shuddered as his eyes shot to the staff in the ghost's hands, a clock at it's head like some sort of mystic crystal. But the ghost's face was all too familiar to Danny ...he'd been seeing it in his dreams for months.

A voice reached out to him from his memory and forced the hair on the back of his neck to stand on end. "The clock rings like warning."

The detective squared his shoulders when the ageless ghost did nothing but continue to stare at him with as much emotion as a statue. Danny stared back in wonder as the face beneath the hood shifted before his eyes into the face of a decrepit old man. "I've...been here before? When?" The half-ghost ventured.

The other rose his head and seemed to gauge his response, as if unsure if Danny could handle what was about to be told to him...the detective wasn't sure he could.

"You have visited this place many times...in your dreams." the ghost told him at last, his expression nearly...apologetic. Somewhere in the darkness another voice laughed, it trickled and rolled and echoed. "Dreams! Dreams! Dark Dreams!" That voice, too, was familiar to Danny, though he was afraid to place where he had heard it before.

"How do you know that?"

The ghost chuckled and once more the face shifted, this time adopting the form of a babe just out of the womb. "Because I know everything." And then the ghost paused and leaned upon it's staff as if weary and frowned. "And because you needed to be warned. I'm afraid that is why I sent Nocturne to you. I needed you asleep detective. My warning needed to be heard."

"Warned? About what?" Danny asked, desperately, aware now of why he'd been hearing things all day...and why he'd fallen asleep so easily. But more than that he was desperate because he could feel the grip of his reoccurring nightmare clawing at the edges of his perception.

"About what is to come. You...you need to be prepared...because it is not within my power to stop it. Not any more...I fear I may have waited too long. " The ghost sighed regretfully and raised up a mournful glance as once more the ageless face caught in maturity formed. "I am sorry Danny. "

Danny wanted to ask the ghost more but could not as a pair of ghostly blue hands wrapped themselves around his neck. The building that smelled of time faded around him and instead the half-ghost was met with a great vastness alight only by faint green lights that formed a timeless atmosphere and eerie backdrop to the leering face that had appeared before his eyes. The brunette gagged and glared and raised a hand to shoot his attacker in the face, but his hand was only batted away. Deep laughter crashed upon him like a wave. "Wanted to warn you! Isn't that just a perfect little picture!"

Danny gagged and pried the hands from his neck with what little strength he had. "Why don't you ever shut up?" the P.I. spat out breathlessly the wrists he held freezing over. He kicked his attacker in the chest and forced himself away but found himself lost in the void, the sound of a thousand different voices rising up from the shadows around him.

The half-ghost covered his ears in an attempt to block out the deafening sound and gritted his teeth against the assault. His eyes scanned for an escape, and instead met evil red eyes and a grin fill with teeth much too sharp to be human. His pursuer...the ghost he recognized from the museum...the bastard who haunted his nightmares...struck him hard across the face and sent him spinning. His vision swam and the detective found it nearly impossible to recover as his attacker grabbed him by the arm and wrenched open his shirt.

Danny screamed as those pointed teeth sank into the flesh around his neck and then howled in anger and he trashed against the man holding him down. Laughter met him, both his attackers and the laughter of another's that was high and crazed. Danny's eyes shot wide as a pair of pale hands came and encircled the neck of his attacker and even as the detective rolled away he stared in awe as a wispy image of Alexis defended him.

Danny wanted to cry out to the strange image of the boy but found himself being drawn up and away from the image before him by a pair of strong hands wrapped around his waist...dragging him up and out of his dream.

...

He awoke thrashing and screaming the terror of the incident so clear in his mind, the pain in his shoulder all too real. Only to find himself in his own bed surrounded by the dark and a pair of strong arms clad in white. Danny shuddered and stilled instantly his ghost form immediately taking over. He fazed out of the arms holding him and scrambled away like a frantic bird from the jaws of a cat. He stared in wide-eyed horror at the pale blue ghost sitting upon his bed staring at him worriedly. Danny stared openly, instantly recognizing the strange dracula-esque ghost, this ghost had helped him once. "You!" Danny breathed, nearly panicked at the horrified inclination of his voice.

The ghost nodded slowly, the worried expression deepening. "Good you-" the ghost climbed across the bed.

"Stay away from me!" Danny hissed, taking a step back his eyes flashing dangerously bright green as his hands flared with ecto-plasmic energy. "What are you doing here?"

The ghost stood, his expression hurt, his black hair absorbing what little light filtered in from the silver of moon outside Danny's window. "I heard you screaming."

Danny faltered, his energy fading, his hands unclenching. He stood normally once more and gazed up at the ghost with less suspicion than before...remembering the arms that had pulled him from his nightmare. "Why-?" Danny began.

But he never finished for the ghost stalked up to him and grabbed him round the waist and brought his lips crashing down upon the detective's own. Danny squirmed and weakly fought against the sudden kiss but found himself warming to the gentle way the ghost's lips moved against his own. The ghost pulled away just as Danny began to respond positively and leaned his forehead against the P.I.'s, red eyes boring into green. "Does there need to be a reason?"

Danny felt his gut clench and his resolve withered as he felt the vampire ghost's gentle hands hold him still. A familiar warmth washed over him...as if urging him to say no and just give in.

But Danny had had enough giving in for one night. "Yes..." he uttered slowly, regretfully. "There does."

The ghost chuckled and sighed and drew away from Danny, the warmth receding. "Always the constant detective aren't you?"

Danny was unsure how to respond to the comment so he simply held his ground and formed his opinion in the shape of an unhappy line upon his lips. The ghost smirked at his expression and rubbed a thumb over Danny's protesting lips. "Some other time then Investigator." the ghost told him ...before vanishing before his eyes.

Danny let his legs collapse from under him and placed a hand to the spot on his neck where he'd been bitten in his dream. He drew his hand away and stared in horror at the blood he found there.

...

Neross: Alright guys I'm terribly sorry about the wait. Mass Effect got the better of me...um...also...*blush* Real life sort of threw me a curve ball by way of a love interest of my own. Anyway my dear ones I hope you enjoyed this last chapter...I know it wasn't quite as long as the past few have been but don't worry...that's only because we're getting down the wire pretty soon here. The appex of the mystery and the conclusion of the story. *sniff* I'm tearing up at the thought.

Well, until next time my sick little darlings, stay tuned for more of my sweet torture won't you?