A/N: Okay, I really don't know where this came from. Just from the images that got into my head as I was falling asleep, I guess… You have been warned about the creepiness. I hope you enjoy it anyway.

I don't own them, of course...

Haunted

Nicholas had always been a good runner. Hell, he even held the Met record for one hundred meter dash. But he had never run like this before. Now he was running for his life, almost literally blindly and completely thoughtlessly. Maybe if he had had any thoughts, they would be all about how surreal and ridiculous it all looked. Behind him a dozen of figures in black hooded cloaks were moving fast as a storm cloud. He allowed himself a sharp glance behind – there seemed to be much more of them now and they were moving with unnatural speed. It was a cloud of pure darkness which seemed to stand out in the darkness of the night. So there are different kinds of darkness. Nicholas' mind was seemingly giving up which he didn't mind at the moment, giving in to the instinct of survival and running, running, running. One thought, though, one image was constantly in his mind no matter how hard he tried to force it out. It was Danny's grim face as the constable had grabbed his shoulder just a few minutes before. The mix of anger and pain of betrayal somehow gave him more strength to run.

Just as he thought he was going to be caught by this army of darkness – they didn't even seem human to him anymore – the ground beneath him gave out and he was falling. He had no idea how long the fall had lasted and where it was going to end. It felt like it lasted quite long. And it felt strangely relieving as his body was completely weightless… until something solid broke his fall. As he stood up and looked around, he saw skeletons. Human and animal. And he also heard something. Whispers, unclear and inaudible. He sensed his surroundings beginning to move as the whispers, still inaudible, began to intensify. And Nicholas did what he was best at: he ran again without turning back. He heard something behind him, something that sounded like footsteps and more whispers which were growing into moans. He didn't dare to look or listen. He just ran.

He ran without choosing a direction or caring about the destination at all, only to discover even more bodies of different stages of decoy. Some of them he recognised, the others looked like they had been there since before his arrival. And more of the whispers breaking into full voices, male, female and children's. And the scratching from the rats who, unlike the humans, were willing inhabitants of this place, only mixed with the voices, creating a cacophony that was threatening to make Nicholas' head explode. He stopped, staring at the faces of the kids he had arrested for underage drinking at the pub just a few days before. The voices became more and more audible, and he started making out words. They seemed to be accusing someone. The clearest word was "why?", which was getting louder every time it sounded. Suddenly, Nicholas felt dozens of eyes and empty holes in their places glaring at him. Some of them were pleading, the others accusing. He made out another word. It was "help".

Nicholas felt as if someone had put ice under his skin. He was shaking, his heart racing faster than a concord. He felt his hair moving and his legs were about to give out when he heard more noise from behind him. Turning back he saw some old skeletons from just a few seconds before. He knew they had been following him. The "help" moan was getting louder, as they were advancing closer to him, somehow managing not to fall apart. The dog skeleton looked almost friendly, almost like Saxon. Only without the fur, skin and muscles. Nicholas mechanically began to back away, noticing the other bodies also beginning to stand up. Somewhere in the corner a disturbed rat squeaked, snapping the sergeant out of the catatonia and making him break into the run again.

Somehow he found a wicket and opened it. Somehow he got outside. Somehow he was still standing on his wobbly legs. He began to run forward but saw the familiar dark cloud approaching him. He looked back and saw the dead coming through the same wicket he had just used. They still called for help. Some of them were letting out all sorts of dirt, blood and who knows what else from their mouths as they spoke. Nicholas felt sick.

He didn't know what this madness was anymore. He turned back to the dark cloaks and saw Danny pushing his way between them. The Danny he knew. Alive, real, human Danny, not a living dead or a faceless black-cloaked figure. Forgetting about the hurt, the betrayal and everything else, Nicholas just ran towards him, hoping that he would either explain it or somehow make it all stop, as his own brain had given up long ago.

The knife glistened in the dim light in a mere second. Nicholas only watched as it was plunged into his chest. He stared at Danny. Then he stared at the knife. And then he felt the pain, as it was radiating from his ribcage through his entire body. Suddenly he felt like he couldn't run anymore. Where could he run? He heard a gasp behind him. They had asked him for help and he was letting them down…

Shaking from pain and something that seemed too complicated for him to get into right now, Nicholas fell to his knees and looked up. Neither the hooded figures nor Danny seemed to even acknowledge the presence of their victims. He glanced at Danny. He didn't look all that human anymore…

The pain was now gone. Everything went dark, as if one of those black cloaks had been thrown over him.

The next thing he acknowledged was the same crypt he had escaped from. There was no pain, no fear, just… nothing. His limbs felt heavy. He looked sideways and saw he was sitting beside the Living Statue.

"He's not very fun to be sat next to," Peter Cocker remarked, his face covered in rats' bites. Nicholas didn't know what to say. He was new to being dead.

"Bad luck, lads," a woman in a green raincoat which seemed to be in a better shape than her own skin pronounced. Nicholas heard cheeping by his side and looked down to see a rat beginning to chew on his index finger. He tried to shrug to shake it off but failed.

"You can't move," Sergeant Popwell's beard wiggled slightly as he spoke. "None of us can. Until someone else comes to save us and we get free".

"I am sorry I couldn't…" Nicholas started, surprised at how monotonous and, indeed, lifeless he sounded.

"It's okay," Sergeant Popwell replied. "I tried and failed, too…"

Nicholas looked down again, watching the rat bite his flesh enthusiastically. And suddenly, something was happening to him. He didn't want to be eaten by rats, he didn't want to lie here and wait, he didn't want to be dead. He was scared. Was he supposed to be able to feel scared? He felt panic take over him, filling his every fibre with pure terror. He was shaking, disproving Popwell's words. The rat, however, crawled up onto his arm and he couldn't shake it off no matter how hard he tried. He wanted to get out, away, as far as he could. The rat stayed in its place.

"Nicholas," someone was calling his name, trying to reason him but this was not going to happen. He was not going to give up…

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

"Nicholas!" the intake of breath is so sharp that Angel nearly falls from his chair. He spends at least a minute gasping for air and looking around him with his eyes wide and unfocused, cold sweat covering his forehead. Danny looks at him from his bed with concern and slight fear, not letting go of his arm he has been holding for quite a while, trying to wake the panicking officer up.

Nicholas finally manages to get his breathing under control and take in his surroundings. Hospital. Lots of machines. Danny. Looking out of shape and scared and worried, but completely human. Nicholas forces a smile which doesn't look like a smile at all.

"How are you?" he asks, his voice still shaking. He makes a few more gasps. Danny still looks alarmed.

"What was that?" he ignores the question Nicholas tends to ask way too often anyway. "Are you alright?"

Nicholas looks down and nods.

"Yeah," he replies without looking up. "Why wouldn't I be?"

He knows Danny is not convinced at all. But he also knows that Danny is too weak to ask any further questions. And when he gets better… hopefully, everything will get better as well by then, and he won't have to lie…