Scythe Curie writes that she sometimes wishes she could have a relationship with the Thunderhead. Others call on it for advice, but scythes are forbidden from using it as anything other than a database. This separates scythes further from the "collective consciousness of humanity's wisdom." Curie wonders what the Thunderhead thinks of scythes—whether it despises them or just ignores them.
The way that Curie speaks about the Thunderhead suggests that at this point in time, the Thunderhead has become a sort of godlike figure for the general population. Denying this relationship to scythes means that the scythes have to police their own actions, something that, again, leaves them vulnerable to corruption.
During the train ride home, Citra tries to say that she won't glean Rowan. Rowan points out that whoever wins will have to glean the other. He also says that he doesn't think this is about them, and he privately thinks this is an attack on Scythe Faraday by Scythe Goddard. Citra suggests they both fail, but Faraday assures her that they'll choose one of them regardless. Rowan tries to calm his thoughts and refuses to speak to Citra. Citra spends the entire night awake once they get home, thinking that scythes aren't supposed to be petty. She vows to be like Faraday if she becomes a scythe, and wonders if there's some wisdom in this new stipulation—the winner would never forget what the ring cost.
Citra's ability to see that there might be a point to such a situation suggests that she's coming around to the Scythedom's way of thinking—she'll learn much later that what the ring actually costs is having to practice gleaning a loved one. Recognizing this now puts her in front of Rowan in their competition to win, as it shows that her thinking is naturally more in line with what it should be as a compassionate, honorable scythe.
Breakfast is a silent affair. Faraday finally speaks and says he's going out alone, but for Rowan and Citra, nothing has changed. After Faraday leaves, the tension in the house rises. Rowan stays in his room with his door cracked in the hope that Citra will come to talk, but she goes for a long run. After she returns, he knocks on her door and enters to find her practicing with a knife. He asks if she wants to talk about the new rule, but Citra insists there's nothing to talk about. Rowan sits on the bed next to her and shifts closer. He wants to kiss her and is surprised when Citra kisses him. She declares that they've gotten the kiss out of their systems now and that she hasn't fallen in love. Rowan leaves and says he's not in love either.
Kissing allows Rowan and Citra to feel, for a moment, like normal teens and get another glimpse of the kind of life they'll be leaving behind, since they cannot fall in love. While banning scythes from romantic relationships certainly has its upsides—scythes won't favor their families, as they won't exist—it also deprives them of something that might also be a natural and normal part of being human. This adds more contradictions to the scythes' lifestyle, as they are in many ways the most human of humans but are forbidden from experiencing normal human emotions.