This wasn't the first time he'd mixed personal feelings and humans before. Ten years and he hadn't learned his lesson. And it was one that every wolf had to know. Had to learn. Wolves and humans didn't mix. They never did and never would. When they did mix, it was at a high cost. One that some couldn't survive to pay. He had. Rosemary had. Look how great they had turned out. Two wolves. Werewolves. They were monsters trying to fit into a world they so clearly didn't belong in. Not anymore.
But they tried anyway. Because they missed that feeling of belonging. Of being normal. Of the world being smaller. Controllable. Kinder. It hadn't been their choice to change so they hadn't chosen to accept it. Even now, years later, they still didn't accept what they now were. Why? What they were was not pleasant. They weren't pets. They weren't gods. They weren't even known about. They were swept under the rug, forced to hide who they were and what they had become. Going from completely normal to being completely ostracized would send any sane person for a loop. Royce liked to think that he handled it pretty well. Better than Rosemary who had gone into complete meltdown mode, had a freak-out and bunked with a vampire. He had just sulked in his room for months.
It was wrong of him to compare their reactions to each other but he couldn’t stop thinking about the differences. They were different people. Different personalities so having them act differently wasn’t a surprise. How she acted wasn’t necessarily wrong or out of place. It was right on target for her. Wait, no, that’s not what he meant. He wasn’t saying that Rosey was some kind of emotion tramp. She just … didn’t handle stress well. Or difficult situations. Anything overly emotional, anything too real. She had her own world and when that world was broken into, she ran to the first source of protection she could find.
It hadn’t been him. He had been in his room, nursing his pride and sanity. Protecting himself first. A selfish mistake that he made sure to never repeat ever again. Damnit, he had been trying to make up for that mistake for years now and the guilt just wouldn’t go away. No matter how many times that Rosemary told him that she was over it. And she was, he could see that. What was done was done. She had never blamed him for what happened. Maybe it was because of that that he held onto the guilt. The blame had to go somewhere. Why not him? He was the monster first. It was his responsibility. And somehow that made him feel better. Go figure. Making himself feel worse was making feel better. Maybe he was that screwed up in the head. Heh. So much for Rosemary being the crazy one.
He was crazy to believe that he could continue what he was doing without consequences of some sort. Crazy to hope that he could be normal, that he could have the relationship he had with Charlie and not have to ever tell her, never let her find out that the man she was with wasn’t man at all. Yeah, even crazy head-over-the-heels for a human he knew he couldn’t keep. In the back of his mind, he realized that. It was always a thought, lingering. He had her now but for how long? Would he be able to keep this secret from her forever? Sometimes, he thought he could. New Hope was neutral. A safe zone. There were no worries of fights. Of being hunted. He could live here for years and never live in fear. Hell, he could live here for the rest of his days. Never have to leave. He and Charlie could-
Could what? Have kids? Have a family? Grow old together? Well, she’d grow old faster. Be dead faster too. And that was where that thought came back. That reminder that he couldn’t keep her. Sure, he had her now but only for a short while. She was his for a limited time. He could pretend all he wanted, forget about the future and remain ignorant but eventually, Royce knew.
He knew he would have to leave her.
And that realization broke his heart every time he remembered it.