…until her. Until small tigress with gilded eyes and fierce tongue pushed her way into heart. It was…strange feeling, this. For so many years I assumed I could not change. For many of those years I had no desire to change. But she altered that. And for the life of me I cannot understand why. Hard man. I am hard man. I am hard to talk to, deal with, understand. No softness. And empathy does not exist. But I want it to. For her. I want empathy to exist. I want to be softer. I want her to talk to me; to understand me. I fear that choices stand in the way of this. That ruthless behavior has made me little more than animal in her sight. She has to see me differently. I need her to see me differently. Then perhaps…perhaps I can see myself differently too. I should not care so. This is what I whisper when I’m alone. When she walks past me in the halls of our home as though she does not notice me. When she sits across from me at dinner and remains polite distance. When I leave gifts for her and they remain untouched. Situation is not ideal, no. But we are here now. She belongs to me and in turn, I belong to her. I would have it no other way. I would change nothing. Except for the sadness in her gaze. The defeated slump of her delicate shoulders. The deprecating way she refers to self; like she is no more than property. These things, I would change them. Because I do not think of her this way. I do not see a possession. I see wife. I see mate. I see…blindingly, beautiful spirit. So much spirit. It chases the darkness out of me. It humanizes most feral parts. It reminds me of why I fought so hard to be the male her people chose for her. I cannot relinquish this. I will not. For pride was all until Asha Shankur. And I will wipe that very pride clean from Earth before I let it stand in my way.