That Monster

Disclaimer: The Mighty Ducks are owned by Disney and are used without permission. Yadda Yadda Yadda....

Joy was worried about Duke. They'd been married for a little over a month, but it wasn't as if they were having any maritial problems. On the contrary, things were going great. Rather, it was Duke himself she was worried about.
Sometimes she'd wake up in the middle of the night to find Duke lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling with a blank expression. He never seemed to see her, and she'd have to shake him before he'd snap out of it, and even then he didn't seem like himself. She'd also discovered a wound mark on his arm that appeared to have been reinforced with metal, and on his other arm was a black leather sheath that appeared to be grafted to his upper arm. It worried her, but she wasn't sure what she could do.


Joy was woken up suddenly that night, brutally shaken from a peaceful sleep. Beside her, Duke thrashed like he was in pain, sweaty, his muscles tense. He screamed in agony; once, twice, three times.
Joy grabbed ahold of his shoulders and shook him violently. His eye snapped open, and the red light in his cybernetic patch lit up, and he searched her face for a very long moment, as if trying to figure out who she was. Then he suddenly yanked her closer to him in a fierce hug, stroking her hair and whispering, "You're alive, you're alive,"
Joy stayed in shocked silence for a very long moment, letting him calm down. At last, he stopped murmmering, and he stopped shaking. When he did, Joy pulled away from him, and stared at him.
"Duke," she said softly. "What's going on?"
Duke groaned, and put his head in his hands. "It's difficult to explain," He said at last.
"Try," Joy insisted. "I've never heard you do this before, Duke."
Duke closed his eyes and leaned back against his pillows. "These're sound proof walls, love. Just 'cause ya never 'eard it don't mean it never 'appened before. 'Course," he looked at her. "That's the first time I ever dreamed he killed *you*."
Joy paled. "Who?!?"
Duke shrugged, and flung off the blankets. He walked across the room, pulled on a pair of pants, then threw her robe to her. "I never found out his name. I'm going to the kitchen to get some coffee. You coming?"
Joy nodded dumbly, and quickly pulled on her robe.
Together they left their quarters and padded barefoot down the halls to the kitchen. Once there, Duke turned on the coffee maker, and they sat across from each other at the kitchen table, neither saying a word.
Finally Duke spoke up. "It's nuttin to worry 'bout, kitten. It's just nightmares."
Joy didn't look up. "I *do* worry about you."
He sighed. "Joy, I'm not gonna suddenly snap and try to kill evrybody in sight or sumptin."
She shook her head. "That's not what I'm worried about. Duke, you could get hurt. And these nightmares obviously hurt you mentally, too. I don't want you to get hurt."
Duke stood up and fetched two mugs, into which he poured the steaming coffee. Joy sat, cradelling her cup in her hands. Duke drained his mug in one shot, then got up to refill it.
"Duke," Joy said softly. "Won't you at least tell me what's going on?"
He sighed, and leaned back in his chair "When I was very, very little, I used ta dream that this black duck, wit a mask came an killed ma parents. Later, I dreamed that he was killing ma sister. Later, it was a really good...friend. Now you." He shook his head. "The only difference're still alive when I start ta dream 'bout you."
"You mean to say that your parents, your sister, and your friend dies, and you dream that the same man killed all three?!?" Joy leaned forward, her emerald eyes wide.
"*That* I didn't dream up." Duke grinned menacingly. "That's cold hard truth." He took another swig of coffee, then leaned forward, arms resting on the table. "See, when I was 4, ma parents, both prominent politions, were murdered. In their sleep, in bed. I 'member hearing sumptin', so I ran ta wake ma parents. There was this man standing there, in black, wit a mask. One of 'is eyes was pure white, blind, so I 'membered him. He saw me and went through the window. I tried to wake my parents, but they wouldn't get up. Then...then I noticed that I 'ad ...blood...all over me. I started screamin'. Ma sister came running, then she started screamin' too. She took me outta there. We took only what we needed. I 'member I was still crying, still covered in blood..." He shuddered.
Joy gently laid her hand on his arm. "Duke, if it's too hard, you don't need to tell me."
He shook his head. "No. I've started, now I need ta get this outta my system." He shook his head again. "Ma sister was 8. Hardly old enough to look after a little scared duck terrified of the dark. But she refused to turn us in. She kept sayin' we could take care of ourselves. She stole stuff for us. Little stuff at first-apples, stuff offa clothelines. Then she went bigger, and stole stuff like radios to pawn off. Then she went serious, and stole gems an weapons an stuff, to sell on the black market. But ya can't pull that many heists and not get caught without attracting attention. When she was 12, an I was 8, she had offers from both the Brotherhood and the Maquis to join their ranks. She told 'em that there was a catch-I got to join too. She'd been teaching me, and for an 8 year old-I was goos. The Maquis told her there was no chance. The Brotherhood told her they wanted to see me in action first. So I stole a nice, small dagger to prove it. I've still got it-" he added, pulling a plain dagger with a gold vien down it out of his wrist guard.
Joy gently turned it over in her fingers, taking in the worn handle and the many times scored blade. She handed it back, and he idly said, "It was new when I got it." Then he slid it back into the guard and continued, "We were accepted, and initiated in. Things were great-or a great as they could get- for a while. Ma sister got married when she was 20-did I mention her name was Teresa?- to another Brotherhood member. I was happy for her-though I never much liked her husband."
"Who was he?" Joy asked, interrupting for the first time.
"Hm? Oh, Falcone."
"*Falcone*?!?" Joy gasped. "Oh Duke...!"
Duke shrugged. "It's not as big a deal anymore. Anyway, things were great until we found out that the Maquis were still holding a grudge 'cause she'd turned down their offer. Somehow, they found out where we lived-I still lived wit them 'cause I was too young to be on my own. So here, this guy shows up at out house, an almost before we knew what was happening he'd killed Teresa, knocked Falcone out, and when I tried to fight him, knocked a chip outta my beak. I was in pain o'course, and upset as anyting, but I saw this good glimpse of the guy as he left-it was the same guy who killed ma parents. And now he'd killed ma sister. I left almost immedietly after the funeral. I couldn't stand being around Falcone. He thought he was so much better than me. A couple years later, this...friend...Kell, I was really close to her, I guess, and one day, out of the blue, that same guy shows up, and kills her too. That time, when I tried to fight him, he did this to ma eye." He tapped at his cybernetic eye patch. "I don't know why he did it, other than that he's been destroying everyone close to me."
"But he's on Puckworld, Duke," Joy said gently. "He can't get at us."
"He gets at my dreams, Joy," He whispered softly. "Now, let's head back to bed, shall we? It'd look kinda odd if the team came ta breakfast and found us asleep at the table."
Joy giggled, and the walked arm in arm to their quarters. There, Joy crawled under the covers and was soon asleep, as Duke stood and watched her in silence. Then he turned and went to the bathroom. There, he removed his eye patch, and stared at his reflection.
His right eye was pure white, and his mind superimposed the image of the assassin over his face, their eye, identical, lining up. Duke leaned his forehead against the cool mirror, and felt a single tear slip down his face. How could he explain to Joy that he blamed himself? That somehow, he feared that the monster that destroyed everything he held dear was destroy her too? How could he explain to her that in his heart, he believed that that monster...was himself?

I don't know...what do you think? Please R/R!