I’m not much of a believer in first kisses that seem so spontaneous and perfect. Usually, it takes more practice or at least buildup. But Fr’Nj has been providing that buildup from the second she laid eyes on Scipio up through the rest of this page, and every once in a while, people do just click. (Also, they do both have some experience, just not with each other, a fact we’ll touch on briefly later.)

The penultimate panel sells it for me, really. Scipio is making his intentions clear, neither rushing nor hesitating. If Fr’Nj wasn’t ready for this, she could’ve pulled away without offense.

One exchange we cut involved Fr’Nj asking “Is Syr’Nj this curious about all of you?” (not meaning sexually curious, you understand) and Rachel saying something like “I get the impression she once was, but this war has taken more of a toll on her than she admits.”

This would’ve put a bow on the fact that Fr’Nj is a bit more similar to Chapters 1-4 Syr’Nj than Syr’Nj as she is now. Some people can retain much of their childlike wonder into adulthood, their openness to feeling. But once Syr’Nj committed to a medicated, PTSD-riddled boyfriend and leading a team to defend a corrupt nation from a genocidal one, she had to become a bit more of an “adult.”

(We also turned Rachel’s line in panel 5 into the alt text. Better for her to intrude as little as possible on the moment, I think.)