Devil You Know

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. R/R and give Harry some love.

I see him in my nightmares sometimes. In truth, there are times when I cannot tell my nightmares from my daily life. Some nights I lie awake in bed and try to determine at what point my life became such a hellish existence. I usually end up laughing because I already know the answer to my musings. The moment has forever fixated itself in my mind. The Green Goblin and Spider-Man locked in an epic duel. Peter Parker and Norman Osborn writing another chapter in their never-ending cycle of violence. But the circle did end. It ended when Peter murdered my father. Murdered? That's how it went, wasn't it?

'Of course it was,' a voice tells me. I always hear his voice. No matter how much I try to run away, I cannot escape my father and his tainted legacy. I am still Harry Osborn and I am still forever hiding in his shadow.

'Oh come now,' chides the voice, 'Is it really like that, Harry?' Yes, it is like that. I try to tell myself that over and over again each day. My father is dead, my father was evil, my father was a murderer. It never helps. The thoughts get all twisted and jumbled up and I keep arriving at a brick wall of conclusions. It's all Spider-Man's fault. It's all Peter's doing. I hate him. He took everything from me.

'That's a good boy,' states the Goblin, 'Everything's much better when you listen to dear, old Dad, isn't it?' No! I try to make sense of it all. My father was a cold, bitter man. He never noticed me, never cared. He loved Peter more than he could ever love his own son. Peter. Again it all comes back to Peter. Again it all comes back to my best friend and my worst enemy.

'Kill him,' hisses the voice, 'He took from you, you take from him. Do it!' I try to shove the voice away. My mind recoils back to years ago. It was easier to push it all away with the drugs. I could just slip into my own, quiet space where nothing could reach me. I still get a little of that feeling sometimes. There are nights when I feel everything fall away and I just let myself slide into my own little world. It's nice but it always scares me. I'm afraid to go back into that space again. I spent a long time in detox trying to forget that space. Of course, I had other problems to deal with too.

'You were weak,' states the Goblin, 'You couldn't accept your responsibilities. What happened to you, Harry? What happened to the son I raised?'

"I am not your son," I tell the dark, empty bedroom, "You are a monster."

'Am I really, Harry?' asks the Goblin, 'Poor boy. They've got you all confused haven't they?' No, I'm not confused. I'm right, aren't I? I try to remember that day but the memory warps and twists. How can I trust what I remember if I can't separate real from unreal?

'Well,' says the Goblin, 'if you can't believe your own father then who can you believe, eh? Trust me, Harry. Let me help you take the revenge that is rightfully yours.'

"I won't let you," I tell him, "You'll destroy everyone. You'll hurt Peter and Mary Jane. You'll hurt my wife and my son."

'My boy,' states the Goblin, 'I wouldn't hurt your family. They're my family too, Harry. As for Peter and Mary Jane, well, they'll get what they deserve now won't they?'

"Yes, but I still don't. . .." I try to explain. I hate Peter for what he's done to me but I can't bring myself to harm him. I've tried to in the past when I let the Goblin consume me but I won't do it anymore. As for MJ, I'd die before hurting her. I love Liz so much but Mary Jane was still the first girl I ever loved. I still care for her so much. I can't let the Goblin take her away.

'I didn't take her away, Harry,' reminds the Goblin, 'Peter stole her from you, remember?'

"Shut up!" I order the voice.

'You'll crack eventually,' sneers the Goblin, 'You'll come to me and beg for my help. You know why, Harry?'

"I said shut up!" I shout. I clutch my temples and try to block out the sound of the voice. I can hear him start to cackle now. The laugh drives me to the brink of utter insanity. Just when I am pushed to the edge, I feel the coolness of someone's touch. I hold on to that sensation and suddenly I am brought back to where I truly belong.

"Liz?" I ask, "I. . .I didn't mean to wake you. It was just a. . .."

"Bad dream?" she finishes skeptically, "Harry, he's gone now. You're not him." I sigh as she wraps her arms around me and nuzzles against my chest. God, I love her so much. I never thought anyone could love me like she does.

"I know," I reply softly, "Liz, I love you."

"Love you too, Harry," she replies, "and you are Harry, not the demon inside you. Don't let it confuse you again, please."

"I'm trying," I tell her, "Thank you, my darling, for being so patient with me and for helping me through all this."

"I wouldn't be much of a wife if I didn't," she replies as she pulls me closer to her, "Now get some rest, okay?"

"Okay," I tell her softly as she snuggles next to me. I let her cool skin soothe me as I relax and chase away the demons in my head. For the moment, all is calm. I sigh contentedly and close my eyes.

'Because you're weak,' finishes the Goblin, 'That's why, Harry, because you're weak.' I hear another long cackle and feel my spine tingle. I will never be rid of him. As long as I live, I will be Harry Osborn and I will forever be haunted by the curse of the Green Goblin.