Atonement consumed Veena when Leo found her lacking. In his dissatisfaction, her world lost color, flattened, dimmed. This was her love.
Xander relished Veena’s light, holding himself open to it whenever she shivered in Leo’s ice, reflecting back her glinting colors before her lover’s darkness eclipsed them.
She recognized the warmth in Xander’s eyes, pure, unyielding, ready to be more, but her hesitation was a force forged in fear.
When, at last, he spoke the words, “I love you,” Veena tried harder.
She disentangled her strength, remade herself, this time emerging without nature at the lead. Acceptance guided this birth.