Below is another panel of script that ended up on the cutting room floor, but this one makes me smile when I think about it.

5. Scipio cocks an eyebrow at Fr’Nj, who flashes him a mischievous grin as she heals the exhausted E-Merl. Why, Scipio, are you jeeeeeealous? She won’t ever take this little game too far, but no one on Gastonia can provoke as much reaction from Mr. Stoic as she can, and she relishes the power.

Bert sure… impressed you.
Why choose a knight when I have a king?
Still… how fortunate for me that you staked a claim before he could.
How fortunate for us both!

I’m still intrigued by this. Even though there’s no way Fr’Nj would just throw Scipio over for someone else, it was not, at this point, a sure thing whether they would be together at series’ end. For one thing, we were seriously considering having him die of an aneurysm. (More on that later… much later.) And in spirit, Bert and Scipio are not so very different. It’s no coincidence that a healer’s drawn to the quiet and scarred.

It was probably best for Fr’Nj’s development that we ended up making this (pretty) inarguably platonic. If we didn’t play it just right, it could make Fr’Nj look kinda bad. And too much emphasis on her love life in her limited panel-time might have flattened her character into just being “the sexy one” when she wasn’t channeling nature or buoying her sister. But this has got to be somewhere on my list of top five Guilded Age what-ifs.