A/N: This was written for the Hogwarts Games, category Swimming – butterfly (write a story between 1000 and 2000 words on an assigned pairing). The pairing this time was Remus and Tonks and the prompt we were given was 'It's the end of the world' by Ram.
I do not believe in fairytales. They are for the weak, for the people that crave some higher destiny to watch over them. I used to be like that, filled with hopes and dreams of a wondrous future where all was possible. And then I got bitten by a werewolf at the age of seven and I learnt the hard way that fairytales don't exist. Not for my kind of people, at least. I'd never be Prince Charming, waking his beloved with a kiss. I'd never be a knight, rescuing the damsel in distress from the ugly beast. If such a thing as fairytales existed, I'd be the beast, not the savior. I'd be the one they'd need saving from, not by. I'd be what mothers would warn their children about. I'd be the creature that needed to be slain.
And then, the unthinkable happened. I met a fiery woman that wasn't scared of the beast, that wasn't afraid of me. She joked that 'adventurous' was her middle name. She laughed in the face of danger, saying that she was perfectly capable of being her own rescue party and that she didn't need a savior.
We became friends.
She wasn't your classical beauty, but then again, neither was I. But she was funny and spirited and always saw things on the bright side. She could change her appearance at will and could make people laugh, even in the troublesome times of war. She always voiced her opinion, whether or not it was appropriate didn't really matter to her. She was loyal – anyone insulting her beloved ones, was sure to meet the wrong end of her wand. When confronted in battle, she would fight like a lioness, even though she was a badger at heart. She was easy to talk to, despite the fact that she was fourteen years younger than I was. She taught me how to open up, how to be more like myself than I'd ever been.
I started to like her more and more.
If this had been a fairytale, I would have confessed my feelings for her and we would ride off into the sunset together. But this wasn't a fairytale, so I told her nothing of the kind. After all, I was but the beast in the tale, what exactly did I have to offer her? Virtually nothing, so these feelings had best gone untold, even though a flash of bubblegum popped up in my dreams every so often. I tried to ignore these feelings I didn't allow myself to have. I tried to hide them from her, out of fear that she'd see me for what I really was and would turn away.
But, somewhere along the line, she fell in love.
I do not know what spurred it on, Merlin knows I've done anything to discourage her and I do know that I was no good for her. I, the poor, pathetic excuse of a man, who was not only too old for her, but could also put her life in danger once a month, and she the brave and valiant Auror, with her life still ahead of her. But as I said before, she wasn't afraid to voice her opinion and declared her love for me. I had to take my distance, to avoid her getting herself caught in a beehive she wouldn't be able to come out of. However, she was always on my mind and I dearly missed her company, missed the sparkly personality that always seemed to be able to cheer me up. I wasn't until another young man got bitten by a werewolf as well – the same, I believe – and his fiancée wouldn't dream of leaving his side, that I began to see some reason. She pleaded with me that if they could manage, surely we could as well? I tried to convince her again – weakly – that it was not a good idea, but to no avail.
We became lovers.
And not long after that, we became husband and wife.
She made me feel like the greatest man on earth and she completed me in a way I had never thought possible. We were happy. For the first time in a very long while, she made me believe that maybe even the monster in the tale could have a happy ending. For a while, I was that seven-year-old again, that went through life with a smile on his face, carefree and laughing in the face of anything opposing us. I certainly was no knight, and she no damsel in distress, but we were the prince and princess in the tale that was our life. All seemed perfect, but it was too good to be true.
She became pregnant.
I realised then that I should have let her go earlier, realised that I shouldn't have burdened her with my monstrosity. Everybody knows that the beast shouldn't be allowed to procreate, for its spawn will undoubtedly have its ways and will never get a change to grow up to anything other than the ghastly creature people would avoid. What kind of a life is that, really? What kind of a life to pass on to a child, or bother a mother with? She said I was being silly, that we would be fine as parents; screamed at me for being such a stubborn, pigheaded moron to think that she would love me any less.
Had this been a fairytale, I would have stayed and we would have had our happy ever after with a baby on the way. But as I said before, I do not believe in fairytales.
So I ran.
I had no idea where I was going to run to, or what I would do when I'd get there. I just knew that I had to go, had to give her a chance at a better life. I knew she'd hate me for it in the beginning, but I told myself the pain would go away and she would find a decent man who could take care of her. Her face doomed up in my dreams, accusing me of having left her and of not taking my responsibilities. But that was the thing, wasn't it? I was taking my responsibilities, by allowing her to forget about me. It may seem like it's the end of the world right now, but eventually, she'll see the wisdom of my actions and she'll be thankful that I walked out. With the war going on, no one ought to be married to werewolf. At least without me, she'd stand a chance of surviving.
And here I am now.
I'm running through the forest like a lost soul, which, come to think of it, feels like a very accurate description of my current mental state. I can't forget her and I can't help but feel like a coward for walking out on her, even if what I did was with the best of intentions. I can't help that voice inside my head that tells me that even the beast doesn't leave the damsel. Especially not if he cares for her. If this had been a fairytale, I'd return home, kiss my wife and prepare to become a father.
But this is not a fairytale and the beast never gets his happy ending.
It took the anger of my best friend's son to make me realise the mistake I was making. What if my son turned out to be like me? Who would guide him through his cycles? Who'd be there to encourage him to not give up? What if he'd questions and there would be no one there to answer them? How will he grow up, knowing that his own father abandoned him? How could I just leave the woman I loved more than anything in the world, when the sole person I was running from – me – would be my shadow, no matter what I did or where I went? How could I so easily break the oath I took the day I married her; that I would forever shield and protect her from harm and love her to the best of my abilities? Running away isn't the best way to protect her from the atrociousness that is war and it doesn't exactly say 'I love you' either.
Maybe, just maybe, I ought to go back.