Well, welcome to my new story. Another multi chapter one, except this time I'm gonna try to upload chapters over a prolonged period of time, rather than all at once.

Summary: Nicholas doesn't return from a trip to London when he's supposed to and Danny begins to worry. Meanwhile, an unconscious blonde man baring no identification turns up at a London hospital with a stab wound to the side.

Hope you enjoy it :)

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, I'm merely borrowing them :)

P.S. The character of Travis is referring to Martin Freeman's sergeant near the start of the film. I've seen numerous fics with that being his name, so I just went along with it. The surname, however, I thought up myself.

o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o

Nicholas sat on the edge of the pier, legs dangling over the water. He had sat down there to watch the sunset, however half an hour later he was still there. Glancing out into the darkness, the only lights he could see were illuminating the boats in the distance. With a sigh, he looked back down to the phone he held in his hands, which had returned to power saving mode. With the touch of a button, the screen lit up again, causing him to squint slightly at the sudden brightness. He read over Danny's text again.

Hey Nick, how did it go 2day? D :)

Nicholas wasn't really sure how to respond to the message, hence why it had been almost fifteen minutes since he received it. Today had been a hard one for Sandord's new inspector. He had been asked to travel to London for the final court hearing for Frank Butterman. The case had dragged out for months after Danny was released from the hospital, and quite frankly, Nicholas just wanted it to be over, so that the village – and particularly Danny and himself – could get their lives back to normal.

He had gone into the court room that day to see the sentencing. He sat in the public seating area and part way through, he had seen Frank look at him with such hatred in his eyes. Before he knew it, Frank was yelling across the court at him, struggling against the guards who were, in turn, struggling to keep him under control. Nicholas backed as far into his chair as possible, fearing that if Frank were to break free, he would physically climb over everyone to get to him. His heart was racing, and as the guards finally managed to calm him down, Nicholas couldn't take it anymore. He rose to his feet, his legs almost giving way underneath him, and walked as quickly as he could to the exit. The second he stepped outside, he had to stop himself from breaking down completely. He ran his fingers through his blonde hair, which had grown slightly since he had been away, and paced. He had virtually created a trench in the floor before he collapsed into a chair, attempting to control his breathing. What had he done to deserve all this? He was a good officer, he did his best to protect the community, to help his fellow officers, yet he went on to become trapped in the middle of something huge. The village had been practically ripped to shreds and he lost count of how many times he and Danny had almost lost their lives. Leaning his elbows on his knees, he rubbed his hands over his face, as if trying to wipe away any invisible tears that might have escaped.

He couldn't wait to get back to Sandford.

"You ok?" he looked up to see Travis standing over him. Nicholas forced a nod, but knew that he wasn't very convincing. Travis had known him too long to be able to read him like a book. Even though Travis had been the one to tell him that he was going to be transferred to Sandford, they'd still been friends in the academy. Travis was a few years older than Nicholas but it was the younger of the two who always acted more mature. Travis sat in the chair next to him. "How's Sergeant Butterman doing?"

Nicholas glanced at him. "He's doing well, the doctors called his recovery 'spectacular'." Both men smiled.

"When are you going back?"

"I leave in the morning." Nicholas stood up. He needed to get out of there. "That reminds me, I need to finish getting my things sorted. I'm gonna head back to the flat."

"Did you want a lift?" Travis asked, rising to his feet.

"No thanks, I could do with a walk." He smiled and nodded at his old friend before turning to leave. He took a detour to extend his walk, after the day at the court he needed the air, and that is how he ended up on the pier. He used to go down there when he was a child, throwing stones into the water with his big cousin, Shaun. When his Uncle Derek was arrested, his Aunt Joanne moved away, taking Shaun with her. Nicholas had only seen him once since then and that was at Joanne's funeral about 6 years prior to his move to Sandford. It killed Nicholas to see that after he had moved, Shaun had turned to the bottle. He dreaded to think where he was now. Picking up a stone, he threw it into the water for old times' sake, before slowly getting to his feet.

He began to walk back, lifting his phone up to reply to Danny. He wasn't sure what to say, but he was sure he'd think of something. He had only walked a few feet when suddenly, a hand clamped over his mouth. Instinctively, he reached up to remove it, hoping that it was a joke. However, before he could do anything else, he felt a horrendous pain in his right side.

o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o

Well, does it sound good? Let me know what you think :)
Much love x