Leo has a rare epiphany.
Physical death had never loomed large for him because--as Shannon had pointed out on numerous occasions--he lacked the basic survival instincts, self-awareness, and sense for such a thing. But this was a different kind of fear. He didn't recognize it, exactly, but he thought it might be tied to getting just what he wanted while suspecting he would end up with nothing.
More than anything, he wanted to go to Pacifica, to see her face and ask if he had heard correctly and wouldn't be making a fool of himself in front of the assembled family, friends, and dignitaries who had gathered for a wedding that may only have existed in Leo's own mind.
But the threat of bad luck (something he didn't need at this point) hung over his head as much as pre-wedding jitters, so he found himself wandering into the garden instead. The sight of Winia, seated on a white marble bench and running her fingers over the petals of a blown rose, raised his spirits.
She wasn't unlike himself, really. Winia had refused to abandon her dreams of true love, no matter how hopeless the situation had seemed, and she had been right. Leo took it as a sign not to stray from his own path.
He walked over with a smile and asked, "Would you like one?"
"Oh!" Winia looked up in surprise, her hand jerking away from the rosebush as if she'd been caught stealing silver from the drawers. Then her golden eyes softened in recognition, and she shook her head. "No, thank you," she murmured. "It seems a shame."
Leo joined her on the bench, and she moved in a graceful rustle of skirts to accommodate him. Marriage could be as simple as that, he realized with a touch of wonder. Consideration without needing to be asked, the comfort of just being together . . . What had he been afraid of? He settled back with a contented smile and cast a glance around the garden.
"And where is Baron Weihrauch?" he asked good-naturedly.
Later, once Winia had calmed, Leo knocked on Pacifica's door, let himself in, and apologized. Not for canceling the wedding, but for proposing in the first place.