Disclaimer: Burn Notice and all of its characters belong to Matt Nix and the USA Network. "Monster" belongs to Skillet.

The secret side of me I never let you see,

I keep it caged, but I can't control it.

So, stay away from me, the beast is ugly,

I feel the rage and I just can't hold it.

It's scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls.

It comes awake, and I can't control it.

Hiding under my bed, in my body, in my head.

Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin, I must confess

That I feel like a monster.

I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun, I must confess

That I feel like a monster.

When you're a spy, there is plenty of oppourtunity for your anger to get the best of you. A good operative will take that anger, stuff it down like black powder in the barrel of a musket, and move on with the operation. Then again, operatives also know that, eventually, that anger is going to come out. If you're smart, you decompress when you get home from a job; you let all of that out in the least self-destructive way possible. If you're not so smart, or if, say, you're a burnt spy that has no down time to let everything out, eventually the smallest thing is going to set you off like a pallet of C4 bricks. What really matters is how you react, and how you handle things when the darkness of rage finally falls...

I stared into the fridge, my mouth set in a grim line as I scanned over the empty shelves. I'd run out of yogurt. When the hell did that happen, and how had I not noticed it? I slammed the door shut, causing the entire workbench and fridge to shake as if we'd been hit by an earthquake. My body was radiating anger as I stalked through the apartment, tearing my shirt over my head and dropping it onto the floor.

The punching bag in the other area of the loft was taunting me when I finally reached it. I balled my fists and began throwing punch after punch into the tattered exterior of the bag. It shook on its chains, but the sound was lost in the violent rushing of blood in my ears and the sound of my bare knuckles hitting the canvas.

I beat the bag repeatedly, throwing hook after hook, jab after jab, and even throwing a few kicks at it. I didn't even notice the shockwaves of pain radiating through my arms or the torn skin of my knuckles that bled profusely. The dark red blood dripped from my hands onto the floor, smeared across the bag, and spattered across the bare skin of my stomach.

The pain of the past decade seemed to slam into me at full speed out of nowhere, leaving my chest heaving and my hands raking through my hair, streaking it with sweat and blood. I halted my assault of the punch bag, taking a few steps back before throwing a final resounding kick into the canvas. The seams ripped, sending sand spilling out across the floor.

"Fuck!" I barked, slamming my palm against the metal wall. The adrenaline was still coursing through my veins and I spun around, my hands quaking with rage. My fingers closed around a beer bottle that I had left on a shelf and hurled it against the opposite wall. The shattering of glass echoed through out the entire room, energizing the already rampant fire that was burning in my stomach.

I moved across the loft and grasped the edge of the workbench before upending it and sending everything on it scattering across the floor. My chest was heaving as I surveyed the remains of what had once been a functional workspace. I was finally letting out a decade's worth of...pissed off. And it. Felt. Good. I couldn't seem to get myself to stop, and my hand shot out to grab the first thing I could grasp, which happened to be a framed photograph. The glass shattered and sprayed across the floor when it hit the wall.

I cleared the 'counters' with a swift sweep of my arm, sending all of the items on it clattering to the floor in a loud crash. My eyes had just flicked to the shelf full of snowglobes when the door to the loft swung open, and Fi stepped in, swinging her purse and humming some song that I was sure she'd been listening to much too loudly in her car. She froze when she caught sight of the first signs of carnage and I watched the mixture of confusion and fear flitting across her face.

"Michael?" She whispered, her mouth hanging open as she turned to face me. Suddenly, I felt like a trapped animal, fear clawing at the back of my throat and my heart hammering in my chest. She took a step closer, and I instinctively curled myself inward before collapsing onto the floor and pressing my back against the underside of the upended workbench, my knees pulled up to my chest.

My secret side I keep hid under lock and key,

I keep it caged, but I can't control it.

'Cause if I let him out, he'll tear me up and break me down.

Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin, I must confess

That I feel like a monster.

I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun, I must confess

That I feel like a monster.

I feel like a monster.

"Michael, what's going on?" Fiona whispered, crossing the room and kneeling beside me. I couldn't stop the small whimper that broke free from my throat and the hot tears that scorched down my cheeks. I had never been so completely overwhelmed with a fear that completely consumed my being.

"No, no, no, no, no, no." I muttered, crossing my arms over my head defensively. The image of Fiona kneeling beside me fell away as I was transported to another time, and another place. The soothing sound of her sweet voice dropped away and was replaced with the pounding of a fist against a closet door.

The darkness of the closet surrounded my body, and the musty scent of stale cigarette smoke and winter jackets that had been in storage too long invaded my nose.

He was drunk again, big shock there. He pounded on the door hard, his gruff voice roaring that he was going to kill me when he got through that door. I heard the crack of the door splintering and falling off of its hinges before my old man shoved his way into the closet and wrapped his hand around my thoat, lifting me off of the ground and tossing me out into the kitchen. The muffled sounds of my mother's cries into Nate's hair echoed through my mind.

Just as his hand was pulling back to throw a punch, the living room fell away into the dark caverns of a warehouse in South America. Sweat slicked my bare chest was flecked with dried blood and the stench of the jungle clinging to every inch of my flesh.

The door swung open and a large Hispanic man walked across the floor, a machete hanging loosely from his grip. I glared at him and sucked in a painful, ragged breath.

"Are you ready to talk, Mister Westen?" The man asked through a thick accent. I stared at him a moment before answering.

"I already told you, Paoulo, I'm not Michael Westen, and I have no idea who you're talking about. I have a wife and family, please just let me go." I whimpered, fighting past the bubble of pride that normally wouldn't have let me beg and plead with a man who's biggest accomplishment was being the smartest drug running gooney in the bunch and had wormed his way so far up the ring leader's ass that he was permanently lodged in there.

"I think that's a bullshit lie. You know damned well what I'm talking about. And, if you don't start talking, I'm going to start removing body parts." He clamped the bolt cutters in front of my face to emphasize his point. The sound of loud gunfire outside the door drew his attention long enough for me to give the handcuffs a vicious tug, enough to snap the metal. I wrapped my arms around Paoulo's throat and began to constrict around his windpipe until his eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed onto the floor. I was busy stripping the weapons off of his belt when I felt the hand on my shoulder. I turned and grabbed the man's wrist before flipping him over my shoulder and onto the concreate.

Fiona gasped when her back connected with the floor, her eyes wide with pain and fear. I stared down at her a moment, my eyes flaming and my chest heaving, before I realized that I wasn't in the jungle anymore, and I wasn't running from my father. This was the woman that I was in love with that I had hurt. I collapsed to my knees once again beside her.

"I'm so sorry, Fi." I whispered, my gaze roaming over her figure. "Are...are you okay?"

"I'm fine, Michael." She wheezed, pushing herself into a sitting position and staring at me. I flinched slightly, but I didn't pull away when her small hand curled around the back of my neck. She gave the tense muscles a gentle squeeze. "What's going on?" She whispered, the lingering sounds of her Irish brogue hovering in the cusp of her words.

"I'm scared, Fi." I whispered, pressing my forehead against hers and allowing the tears to continue falling.

"Of what? What are you scared of?" I swallowed a choked sob.

"Of me. Of what I'm doing to you. I'm," I paused briefly to collect my thoughts. "I'm a monster, Fi. Why the hell do you keep putting up with such a fuck up like me?" She brushed away the salted trail of tears with her thumb and placed kisses to my cheek, my eyes, and finally my lips.

"Because I love you, and I know that you're not a monster." She replied. I heard her suck in a breath as she took my hands in hers. She ran her fingers lightly over the torn skin of my knuckles, the contact sending a pulse of pain through my arms.

"I didn't wrap them." I replied in answer to her unvoiced question. She stood slowly and helped me to my feet.

"Come on. We'll get you cleaned up, and then we're going to go out for some dinner, and we'll get to cleaning the loft when we get around to it." She smiled, leading me across the loft. My foot hit the shattered remains of the photo frame, and I glanced down. My brow furrowed as I bent to pick up the photo.

A younger version of myself and Fiona stared back up at me from where we were perched on the edge of the railing outside the Black Sands Pub. The fiery, dangerous flicker of light still hovered in Fiona's eyes as she leaned into my side in the photograph.

"I thought that you might like to see that. I grabbed it before I left Ireland, but it's been hiding in the apartment. I found it when I started moving all of my stuff over here." Fiona whispered, removing the photo from my hands and setting it on the bed. "Come on, Michael."

And, with that, I allowed her to lead me to the bathroom to bandage my wounds. And I followed her, because she was always going to be my light that leads me home when darkness falls. No matter what.

It's hiding in the dark, its teeth are razor sharp, there's no escape for me,

It wants my soul, it wants my heart.

No one can hear me scream, maybe it's just a dream,

Or, maybe it's inside of me, stop the monster!

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin, I must confess

That I feel like a monster.

I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun, I must confess

That I feel like a monster.

I feel it deep withing, it's just beneath the skin, I must confess

That I feel like a monster.

I'm gonna lose control, do something radical, I must confess

That I feel like a monster.