Hey people! Yep...I did it again. I...wrote a one-shot...This one is angsty though. It's based on Nickelback's song "Never Again." I spared you the lyrics because people never read them anyway...Anyway, I was listen to my new CD (Nickelback's "Silver Side Up") and inspiration hit me. I was attempting to write a new chapter for "One Way Ticket" and "Shattered Glass," but I couldn't concentrate, so I stayed up until midnight on a school night and wrote this. ^_^ I'm such a rebel. Yeah...this is rated PG- 13 for violence (surprising, much?). I know I've probably beat the dead horse concerning this subject, but I can't help it.

Disclaimer- I don't own the Mighty Ducks movies...Never have, and I most likely never will...

I lingered in the doorway of my bedroom. I had heard a peircing scream rip from the livingroom.

I always did.

I could feel my anger swell up inside. It seemed my step-father was drunk again. Surprise surprise.

I walked into the room; I narrowed my eyes, seething with hatred for the man.

When I screamed out, demanding him to stop, my mother sat up from where she was huddled on the floor and looked at me.

"Go back to bed, Charlie," she said weakly as the man hovering abover her turned his attention to me.

The man glanced at me, his step-son, angry at the opposition. Angry at the split-second loss of control.

"I suggest you listen, boy," he said, the air filled with the pungent smell of alcohol. The air was so thick with it, I thought for sure I would choke.

My fists clenched, matching his as we stared each other down. I wanted nothing more than to make him pay for what he did to my mother...Every second of pain repaid tenfold.

But I, being barely thirteen and 5'6", was less than threatening to a 6'3" monster...

I was broken out of our staredown by my mother's weary voice.

"Charlie, just go back to bed."

"But-" I started, my voice laced with false confidence.

My step-father grabbed the scruff of my shirt and yanked me inches from his face; I could see his bloodshot eyes and smell the sickening stench of beer.

"You're only making it worse, boy. If you aren't in your bedroom in thirty seconds, she'll regret it," the man threatened, motioning to my trembling mother.

My insides ached; I was so terrified for her, yet I realized he wasn't bluffing. He never did. He always carried out his threats.

He practically hurled me down on the floor, causing my head to bump a table roughly. However, I was far less concerned with the condition of my head because I knew my mom was feeling worse.

I gave my mom another glance, ashamed of my weakness before retreating to the safety of my room.

---Two Years Later---

The music pulsed through my room, blocking out the rest of the universe. I had taken to music about a year earlier, and it seemed to solve every problem.

Just like clockwork, I heard my step-father enter our tiny appartment.

I didn't hear anything suspicious yet, so I made no move to leave my haven. My safe place. My room.

If I were to try, I could vaguely remember when my mom was first dating "Scott."

My hopes had been recently crushed when my coach left to play minor league hockey, leaving me without a father figure to look up to.

Thus enters Scott.

As one would expect, he was the perfect boyfriend for my mother. Came off as shy, sensitive, and...perfect.

My mother's heart was still vulnerable; she had dated my coach before he left, so she was searching for love and affection as well.

He had started coming more and more, straining to become a part of our family. My mother had blindly accepted him when he didn't run at the sight of me; the son.

Though I desperately longed for a father figure, I was wary of him. I never was too partial to new adult figures in my life anyway; I spent little time at home.

He proposed, she accepted.

Things appeared to be going smoothly for awhile. I played hockey as usual, and it seemed he might fit in okay with our lives.

But, as always, things change. The rose-colored glasses are brutally shattered, leaving a searing truth to singe the dellusion.

It started happening about a month after I got back from the Junior Goodwill Games. He complained that she never let him go out with his friends, and she told him he had a family to take care of now.

He came home drunk that night.

Over time, the violence of the incidences increased. Rarely did it ever involve me, though to this day I'm not sure why.

Maybe because I rarely stood up to him.

In the beginning he would threaten her with me; say he would start on me if she didn't do what he said. Claimed he would shift his wrath to the child.

And she believed every word.

He had stopped using me when I started high school. I was nearly his height and seemed more of a threat. Then he just found other ways.

I could tell he knew what he was doing. After a huge fight of particularly bad beating, he would shower her with love. Charm her into believing his lies of future perfection. Begging her forgiveness.

And she always gave in.

I resented him for causing us so much pain. I resented her for always taking him back. I resented myself for not doing anything as I watched it happen around me.

For some unknown reason, I decided to leave my room in order to check life outside my self-made bubble. It was...quiet.

Too quiet.

I crept into the livingroom and couldn't make myself breathe.

My mom lay in a mangled mess on the floor. I had never seen it so bad...

Rushing to her side instictively, I pulled her smaller frame into my rms. I looked up at my step-father looking poised to attack me if I were to shift.

"You..." I said, unable to find the exact words. I was shaking.

"Shut your trap, or you're next." His voice held the same threat, but I wasn't afraid this time.

Still unable to form coherent speech, I lay my mom's unconscious, bloody form gently on the floor and stood up.

My fists balled up in uncontrollable anger. He barely flinched when I lurched at him, throwing my weight into a punch; I hit him square in the jaw.

He stumbled back, slightly surprised at my sudden retalliation. "So you're going to play it that way, are you?" he snarled, a sick, cocky smirk dominating his face.

I didn't feel it until a few seconds after.

Blinking my eyes open, I could practically hear the throbbing sensation on my left cheekbone pound in my head. Or was that the painful "thump thump" pulsing from the back of my head where I snapped our table in half with my skull during the fall?

It was difficult to tell.

When I blinked again and focused my vision, I saw "Scott" scooping my unconsious mother off the floor.

"Get up, brat. We need to get her to the hospital. If you breathe one word of this to anyone, either you or your mother won't live to defend the accusations."

His voice was cold, sending a tremor down my spine as I nodded numbly. Giving in again.

I struggled to my feet, pain shooting through every inch of my body as I fought to stay standing. I had to keep as much dignity as possible.

By the time we reached Scott's beat up Cadillac, my mom was regaining consiousness.

My hand found hers as my eyes pled her forgiveness; I failed her again.

She gave me a weak smile, rubbing my hand with her thumb to tell me she wasn't mad. She never is. She never blames me.

Then he rudely interupts our connection. Our moment of comfort.

"Tell them you slipped and fell." That's all he said.

I knew that's what she would do. The cycle would press on. We would never escape.

We arrived at the hospital and rushed her inside. We had paid no mind to the forming bruise under my eye.

Instantly I observed the change take place in my step-father.

It sickened me.

He morphed into "concerned husband" as he pretended to be worried sick.

His act improved every time.

They gave me a once-over as well, eyes drawn to the dark bruise decorating my face.

Not a thing was said.

The doctors toted my mother off, leaving me alone with him. My step-father. The man who caused all of this.

But he just stood there looking more innocent than a newborn baby.

I thought for sure I would throw up right then and there.

I wasn't sure if he was aware of this naseous feeling I got just being near him. The urge to make him suffer constantly clouding my mind.

If he did, he made no hint of it.

Standing there with him I felt empty and alone. None of my friends knew. They rarely saw him, and when they did, he pretended to be the "perfect man" my mother had met.

Because of this, they told me to quit whining when I vented my hatred for him.

I had stopped telling them things at the age of twelve.

Before long, a nurse appeared.

When the nurse asked if we wanted to visit my mom, Scott told me to go ahead, patting me on the shoulder as if he cared.

I bit back a spiteful "Don't touch me." If I were to say that, either my mom or I would surely feel the reprecussions later...

To my relief, we arrived quickly; my mother smiled at the sight of me.

I sat in the chair next to her bed and fought back tears. I couldn't cry when she was being so strong...I should be protecting her.

"Hey mom..." I said, my voice cracking. I was sure my eyes were betraying the bravery I was attempting.

She gave me a watery smile, pulling me into a hug as she burried her face in my shoulder. The nurse crept out, leaving us alone.

"Sweetie...I'm so glad it's you..."

"I'm sorry...I'm so sorry," I choked out, clenching my soggy eyes tightly closed. I was sure I was shaking.

"Shh, it's okay sweetie...It isn't your fault," she said soothingly, stroking my head gently.

I shook my head in disagreement. "No, it is. I should have stopped him. I should've...I should've..."

She pulled back a little and placed two fingers over my mouth, silencing me.

"Charlie, it isn't your fault. You know how he is. There's nothing you could have done," she told me before taking a closer inspection of my appearance. She furrowed her eyebrows.

"Charlie, is that a bruise?"

When I didn't answer, she persisted. I had shifted my gaze to the floor silently.

"Charlie...Charlie, did he hit you?" she asked with more power behind her voice.

I shrugged.

"I can't believe he hit you!" she said, a cloud of anger settling in her eyes.

"I guess I kind of started it..." I said with another shrug, feeling uncomfortable.

"Charlie, what do you mean 'you started it'?" my mom asked, her eyebrows creased slightly.

I looked back up at her. "I hit him first."

Her eyes widened slightly. "Why did you do that? You know what he could have done!"

"Yes, mom, I do! But I'm SICK of letting him slide by! Mom, you're in the HOSPITAL! You could have died!" I said in near-hysteria, my voice strained with emotion.

"But I didn't! I don't want you involved, Charlie. I never have."

My eyes intensify as I continue my line of thinking. "It dosn't matter that 'you didn't'! You COULD HAVE! I should be protecting you; you're my mother, and this has gone on long enough!"

"Protecting me? I should be protecting you! You're my child, and I'm the one who should be watching out for you; not vice versa."

Our debate was interrupted when a nurse came in. She told us she needed to ask what happened.

I looked at my mother with a ray of hope; a hope that she would tell.

"I...slipped and fell."

My heart sank.

The nurse nodded, but didn't seem convinced.

I wanted so badly to scream out the truth; but I couldn't...and I wouldn't.

And that's why I understood her. I didn't really blame her so much for not telling. I most likely would lie if put on the spot as well. Fear drives us all.

We returned home.

Life went on.

The pattern returned.

Grovel, pamper, lie; the endless cycle.

It was only a few days later when he brought alcohol back into our lives.

I had felt it was the last straw when I found my mother on the floor, bruised and beaten again.

"Get out of my house," I finally snarled at him.

He turned his attention to me.

"Excuse me?"

"I said get out of my house," I spat out again, dripping with equal malice.

The older man shifted his body completely so he was facing me. "And what gives you the authority to toss around orders? I'm the father of this household."

"You do NOT deserve, and have not earned, the title 'father'! How can you take stuff out on her? Have you ever heard the phrase 'don't hit a lady'?!" I screamed, my eyes burning with searing hatred. "You have no idea what I would give to kick your sorry excuse for a human soul into next Thursday..."

He cracked his knuckles and caught my eyes in his, striking a sense of terror as he calmly responded.

"You're going to wish you hadn't said that..."

A crack echoed through the house as he punched me in the jaw, sending me flying backwards against the wall. This time, however, he didn't stop.

Grabbing my shirt, he slammed me against the wall as I flailed my arms; I heard something snap, but I couldn't distinguish what it was.

He tossed me against a table, knocking the glass contents on my tremoring body.

Across the room, I faintly saw my mom crawl to a chest by the couch and pull something out. I couldn't tell what because Scott had slugged me in the eyes, causing a yelp to escape my lips against my will.

When he briefly stood up, I looked between his legs and saw my mom holding something in her hands shakily.

A shot echoed through the silent house, followed by the thud of a body hitting the floor.

Through blurry vision, I saw her sit the object down and crawl to my side, pulling me into her embrace as she sobbed.

He was gone. The fear was gone. The pain was gone.

...Never again.