#Kirill'sTruck – January 8, 2019

The pair continued to make progress at a slow, but steady, pace down off the plateau. Sandwiches on-the-go and cheap beer was the main course for dinner. True to Jessica's words, they eventually come upon a wide canyon to the south. Flanked by high mountains on both sides and filled with rocky outcroppings, it slows the already-meandering forward progress to a crawl to navigate the bumpy and treacherous terrain. Most would have simply taken

Traveler's Gorge, cutting their travel time in half and allowing them a safe respite to stop at, a fact that Jessica most certainly hasn't brought to light. The width of the canyon and the height of the flanking mountains gives travelers passing through plenty of options for escape, making it an unlikely spot for bandits to set an ambush when so many juicier targets exist nearby. Unfortunately, the sun has long set by the time they escape

mountain's embrace. But now, they're free, westbound in the shadow of the mountains to the north. To the south, sightlines are already much wider open than they were in the region surrounding Freedom Falls. Tree-dense hills, meadows, and forests replaced by mostly flat land once past the foothills. They continue on their way west for another 45 minutes or so before Jessica stops the truck, tucking them into the foothills of the mountains.

Jessica has made a trip outside, towards the back of the truck. A gust of wind sends a bit of the snow that had clung to the roof into the truck with her when she returns, teeth bared to weather the cold. In her hand, she's holding a bottle of batarian ale by the neck, the green liquid swishing around within as she holds it up and gives it a little shake for Yan Sun. There's a fancy, batarian script with simply the words 'Ale' across

a crest on the label. "Fuuuuck is windy." she groans as she tugs the door closed behind her and begins to dismantle her winter gear, stomping her boots off into the floorboard and removing her jacket and her- well, Yan Sun's- beanie. Without the music or the chunky hum of the truck's engine, the wind is an almost overwhelming presence. It can even be felt when a big gust rolls through. So much so, that each time it tapers off momentarily, the absence that fills the short gaps is almost haunting. As if they're the only living souls on the planet. Truthfully, they very well could be hours from another living person.

Outside of their cabin light, their only company seems to be Litae and a clear sky full of stars.

Yan Sun sat up for most of their journey through the pass, perhaps unable to relax between the treacherous terrain and the talk of bandits. Maybe it's the cold of night, or just the sense of cold brought on by the sound of the howling wind, but she's wrapped herself up in a blanket as she sits, staring out the window across the moonlit, snowy plains, and the blackness beyond, a distant look on her face. She's roused from her thoughts as

Jessica returns, looking over to her with a small smile, although her eyebrows furrow as she spots the bottle, eyeing it skeptically.

Jessica looks the bottle over as she sits against the driver's side door before turning her attention back to Yan Sun. "Uncut batarian ale." she says with a small wiggle of her brows, the taught, burned flesh on the right side of her head allowing what remains of her right eyebrow much less motion. She begins to unscrew the cap and takes a whiff. The deep grimace that follows is to be expected. "My first time getting drunk is on this

shit." she says with a snicker. "I am having-..." she furrows her brow in thought for a moment, "...Mmmm, maybe thirteen years? I did not know you are supposed to cut it with something-... with-... with water or some shit? And I am wanting to impress my brother and his friends, yes?" she explains, a genuine snicker interrupting her own words as she continues to study the bottle. "So I drink waaaay too much. I do not remember

much from that night. But I do know that I piss my pants." She takes a slug right from the bottle, the grimace returning to her face as she fights off the cough that threatens to erupt from the burn in her throat while she licks at the roof of her mouth and leans forward to extend the bottle towards Yan Sun. Rubbing at her lips with the back of her other forearm, she speaks into her sleeve. "Was a very good night."

Yan Sun grimaces as she listens to Jessica, making a sound somewhere halfway between a grunt and a snicker. "How do you drink that stuff...?" she says, her skepticism remaining as she makes a dismissive hand gesture, not seeming all that keen on braving the batarian ale.

Jessica frowns at the gesture, only doubling down on forcing the bottle on Yan Sun. "One drink is not going to get you drunk, kitty cat!" she insists. Peer pressure! "These are the rules. For this trip, you must drink." She gives a playful shrug of her shoulders. "I am sorry, I do not make the rules." Something about the way she says it is almost as if she's repeating someone else's words.

Yan Sun apprehensively accepts the bottle, sniffing it and immediately grimacing again. "Pretty sure you did..." she says with a snort, taking a moment to brace herself as she stares at the green liquid. "Here goes, I guess..." she mutters, taking a quick swig before she can hesitate. "Phfweh!" She ends up covering her mouth with her wrist, first to keep the ale down and then to stifle her coughing. "Fah-... graahgross." she manages as she

lowers her arm, eyes watering a little and a dismayed look on her face

Jessica seems to have gotten the desired reaction, causing laughter to erupt from her. She leans forward to retake the bottle and scoops up one of the pillows from the nest of pillows and blankets, planting it against the driver's side door. "Mmm. Is pretty gross." she agrees through her dwindling laughter as she returns the cap to the bottle and sets it on the floorboard between them. She brings her legs up onto the bench, tucking her

feet up against Yan Sun as she settles her head against the pillow and turns her gaze to the windshield. They're nestled right up against the base of the foothills of the mountains they just escaped. But off to their left is a wide open sheet of white, undisturbed snow outside of the occasional wildlife tracks almost as if they're the first people to have ever carved this path. The clear sky makes Litae the main attraction, an

Jessica ominous orb in the night sky. Even with it lighting the way, there's only so far one can see before visibility drops to nothing. It seems like it might just go on forever. Or... maybe nothing else exists outside of Litae's illumination.

Yan Sun grumbles quietly, grabbing a half-empty water bottle to take a sip and try to wash out the taste of the ale. After lowering the bottle to the floor she looks over towards Jessica, and she seems about to move closer before frowning, an unhappy look on her face as the realization hits her. "I gotta pee." For a brief moment she just sits in hopelessness before slipping her jacket on and cracking the door open, her face immediately hit

by icy, howling winds as she disappears out into the dark.

Jessica furrows her brow. "Take-..." she begins, Yan Sun already taking off causing her words to reduce to a grumble. She quickly climbs to her knees and begins to unlatch the back window, clenching her teeth to brace herself for the biting cold that hits her the moment she gets it open. She leans out through the window, unsnapping the edge of the tarp closest to her. Thankfully it's snapped down and latched in places around the bed,

otherwise the wind might just take the whole thing right off the truck. The folded bit of the tarp flaps against itself as she digs through their things for a moment before lifting a roll of toilet paper. She rotates in the window, scooting through it a bit until she's sitting in the window, legs inside of the truck. Keeping herself upright by holding onto the roof with one hand, she glances about for Yan Sun. "Don't forget the

paper, slut!" she shouts in an attempt at being heard over the whistling of the wind.

Yan Sun 's voice can be heard from beneath the side of the truck just as Jessica shouts for her. "I forg-..." A moment later her head pops up over one side of the truck bed - it's hard to tell if the blush is from the cold or embarrassment. She extends a hand to catch the roll before disappearing again. After a while the door opens again, the wind whipping her hair in her face as she steps inside and quickly shuts the door behind her. She

lets out the universal 'I'm freezing' noise, shivering as she hugs herself. "冰凍... 籮噼.." can be heard among scattered mutters, followed by a sniffle as the shift to the warm air of the cab reaches her nose.

Jessica has snapped up the tarp, closed up the window, and retaken her previous spot against the driver's side door by the time Yan Sun returns. Having just taken another swig of the painfully strong ale, the look of disgust is still etched into her features as she blindly holds the bottle by the neck to tuck it back against the floorboard without looking. Her expression shifts into a grimace as a wave of cold air washes over her before

Yan Sun gets the door closed and she folds her shoulders inwards as if to fight off the cold. "I was starting to think that maybe something eat you." she teases, grin overwriting her grimace.

Yan Sun shoots Jessica a none-too-hard scowl. "Not funny!" she exclaims, bouncing a little in her seat as she tries to get the blood flowing. "Somehow I didn't realize this trip would mean freezing my butt off to go pee." she says, a grumpy pout lingering on her face as she sniffles again.

Jessica snickers to herself, giving Yan Sun a poke in the side with her foot. "Is going to be worth it!" she assures. "Besides, maybe is less cold- less snow, at least maybe- if we go south a little." After a moment's consideration she shrugs against her pillow, watching Yan Sun from her spot. "Or maybe not. I don't know. We will see."

Yan Sun looks over towards Jessica, studying her for a moment from where she sits huddled up, a snicker slipping out. "Hope so..." she sighs. After a bit of consideration she seems to relax a little, leaning down to pry her boots off and then pulling her legs up into the seat before scooting closer to Jessica. She nudges her to make some room against the backrest while slipping out of her jacket.

Jessica complies, scooting a bit to afford some room for Yan Sun to slip up against her. It's snug, of course, but she certainly doesn't mind. "Who said you were welcome on my side of the truck? Mmm?" she teases, contrary to her movements. The angle of the windshield gives a pretty perfect view of Litae from the seat of the truck. Nature's nightlight.

Yan Sun rolls her eyes, grinning a little as she slips into the small space between Jessica and the backrest, bringing the blanket with her as she does. She's really as much on top of Jessica as next to her, her right arm wrapping around her chest and her right leg spreading out across both of hers as she lets her head come to rest against her shoulder, quickly making herself comfortable. She's a bit cold from her excursion, and the wind has

left her hair a mess since someone stole her beanie.

Jessica wraps the arm that Yan Sun is laying against around her- almost as much by necessity as by choice- her hand coming to a rest on Yan Sun's waist. With her other hand she reaches out to shut off the cabin light. For the moment, she simply stares up at Litae, a bit of that feeling from the previous night making a return as she considers the fact that she'll soon be in a place that- despite being the planet she was born on- is

totally alien to her in every way that matters. A place where she won't be able to look up and see the same sight she's seen her entire life. It causes her mind to shift back to the last time she made this trip so many years ago. That strange feeling of being so far from home for the first time and the comfort it provided her to just look up and see that big, beautiful orb that reminded her she wasn't as far as she thought she

was. She works the blanket over herself as well as she bats her thoughts around a bit. "Why you are so afraid of your father?" she asks, gaze still fixed to the only source of light. Her question is soft, almost whispered.

Yan Sun joins Jessica in looking up at Litae after brushing her hair back, the massive moon more striking than ever away from the lights of Freedom Falls. Her gaze wanders the scars and craters that dot its surface, drawing in a deep breath and letting it out in a quiet sigh that almost goes unheard under the sound of the wind that envelops them. "I'm not-... I'm not afraid..." she protests as Jessica speaks, not sounding all that

convincing. The question causes a frown to replace her relaxed, distant expression, her gaze falling to the faint dots of light on the dashboard as she shifts a little against Jessica.

Jessica doesn't persist. Not right away at least. At first, she simply shifts a bit, pressing her right cheek against Yan Sun's hairline, a gesture that not too long ago would have made her uneasy. But Yan Sun has seen most of her ugliness and rough edges by this point- it's in no short supply- and for some reason that confuses even Jessica, she hasn't yet bolted. "Mmm. You are a bad liar." she says matter-of-factly.

Yan Sun sighs, her gaze wandering further down the inside of the truck, not responding right away. "I'm not afraid." she repeats, emotion seeping into her voice. "But he's-... he's an asshole. And he made it pretty clear I'm not welcome anymore." she says bitterly, but there's an emotional undercurrent that she can't shake. Her voice is quiet. Hurt. Just being prodded about it seeming enough to make her choke up a little.

Jessica gives her words a little space, not jumping on them right away. She brings her other arm in, placing one hand over the other around Yan Sun and gives her a slight squeeze as she shifts in place. "...But you love him, yes?" she asks. There's no judgement in her tone. Just curiosity, her gravely voice retaining a surprising amount of softness.

Yan Sun seems caught off-guard by the question. There's no response at first, just a frown that slowly settles across her face, her gaze focusing on an arbitrarily chosen light on the dash. "That-... shut up, Jessica..." she sighs, her voice breaking a little. It's not hard to tell that the subject has dampened her mood, and she lets the sound of the wind take over as she goes silent.

Jessica's expression shifts into that familiar scowl. "Don't be a bitch." she mutters in a gravely growl. "You are stuck in here with me. With nowhere to go. In the freezing cold. Is pissing me off something you want? Mmm?" she asks, doing her best to make it sound playful, but it's not hard to sense that Yan Sun's reaction was pretty akin to poking a bear with a stick. She allows a moment to pass before shrugging against Yan Sun. "My

father was a piece of a shit, too..."

Yan Sun 's right hand closes, her body tensing a little. There it is again. What right does she have to complain? None. Her life's been a cakewalk compared to Jessica's. She always had everything she wanted, and her family certainly wasn't burned to a crisp in front of her. They're still alive, and she'd still be with them if she'd just kept on being what they wanted. If she hadn't disappointed them. Just a spoiled brat who refused to make

sacrifices for the family legacy. She doesn't respond to Jessica, eyes closing and head turning a little to hide her face.

Jessica's frown only deepens when Yan Sun remains silent and it causes her to follow suit. It's a struggle against her own nature. She so badly doesn't want this to be a fight. That can't be what this trip is about. It can't. For a number of moments she merely stares up at Litae through the windshield, but eventually she rolls over onto her right side. It's a slow and clumsy movement on the narrow bench to keep from slipping off. With

her right arm pinned beneath Yan Sun, her left hand slides down from Yan Sun's waist to the outer thigh of her right leg that's draped across Jessica. Space at a premium, this repositioning pretty much puts her nose-to-nose with Yan Sun. "You don't want to talk about it." she says, as if an attempt at making it known she 'gets it'. "Is fine." she decides with a dismissive shrug, trying to play it off as if she doesn't have a

whole lot of curiosity about just what happened between Yan Sun and her family to drive such a wedge between them. A galaxy-sized wedge. Curiosity about what kind of situation she's walking into. "We will talk about something much more important, then." she says, the dark truck cab concealing the white of her fire-licked eye. "What is-...." she begins, dragging her words out as if there's going to be some incredibly important

question to come and there's an unheard drumroll somewhere out there. "...something about me that drives you crazy, mmm?" She gives a small raise of her left eyebrow as she asks and pokes the tip of her tongue out between her teeth, grin returning to her face as she tries to salvage things.

Yan Sun 's gaze shifts to meet Jessica's as she turns, pressing back against the backrest to give her as much room as she can. A faint frown lingers as she looks at Jessica in the dark. The question causes a quiet snort to slip out, her expression changing. "Everything...?" she suggests, a small smirk creeping across her mouth, although there's other emotions lingering in her eyes.

Jessica draws a breath in through her nose as she assess the response. She gives a sideglance towards the ceiling of the truck's cabin. "Mmm. Correct." she decides, her grin growing a bit more genuine as she looks back to Yan Sun. "For me, is-... Hmmm..." she hums, as if it's taking some deep thinking for her to come up with anything. She gives Yan Sun's thigh a squeeze before lifting her left hand up to her left eye and tugging at the

corner of it. It's, by all rights, a racist gesture but she's undoubtedly not intending for it to be meant like that. She probably doesn't even realize it. "Your eyes. I don't get to see many like this." she says sincerely, releasing the corner of her eye. Deciding that might be a little too gay, she returns her hand to Yan Sun's thigh and gives her a quick swat on the ass through the blanket. "And your ass!" she's quick to add.

"And-..." she starts, as if there's more, but she very quickly trails, falling into silence as she tugs at her lower lip with her teeth and tries to meet Yan Sun's gaze as best as she can in the low light.

Yan Sun lets out a quiet snort, raising an eyebrow as she watches Jessica. She hardly seems offended. More amused than anything. And perhaps surprised by the tone of her voice - she hadn't really taken the question seriously herself. The addition causes her smirk to widen into a full grin. "What...?" she asks in a whisper, nose and forehead pressing against Jessica's as she leans in closer, her breath intermingling with Jessica's.

Jessica allows her lips to brush against Yan Sun's. Another gust of wind causes the truck's cab to rock gently in place, as is shivering against the cold. Rotating her forehead back and forth slightly against Yan Sun's, Jessica snickers softly to herself, her usual cockiness slipping away momentarily as a bit of self consciousness washes over her at the idea of offering up her feelings so freely. Her left hand makes its way back up her

side before dipping beneath the blanket and starting back downward. When she reaches Yan Sun's waist, she digs her index finger into the beltline of her pants, giving it a soft, playful tug. "Mmm. Everything." she says with a small, almost imperceptible nod, as if having come to the conclusion that Yan Sun had summed her thoughts up nicely.

Yan Sun snickers quietly, close enough for her smile to be felt. There's a hint of embarrassment there, too. With her left arm pretty much pinned, she moves her hand to Jessica's neck, thumb brushing across burned skin. Coarse. Familiar. Her right hand slides down to her hips, coming to rest there. For a moment it seems like she's going to say something, her mouth open just slightly, the wind the only sound in the cab, but instead she presses

a soft, slow kiss against Jessica's lips.

Jessica digs her index finger deeper into the waistline of Yan Sun's pants and gives it another quick tug. That discomfort that once filled her each time Yan Sun came in contact with her scars is all but gone. The way her touch lingers- doesn't pull away in disgust- seems to only motivate Jessica to lean into the kiss.. The truck's bench doesn't afford much space, forcing Yan Sun to remain pressed against the backrest. It's probably not

the most comfortable for either of them, but Jessica doesn't seem to mind. Slow, soft, and passionate, she seems in no rush to break the kiss. She releases her grip on Yan Sun's waistline and runs her hand back to her waist. To her hips. Down to the leg draped over her as she runs the tip of her tongue across Yan Sun's.

Yan Sun doesn't seem to mind being wedged between Jessica and the seat as she is. If Jessica has to stay close to avoid falling off the seat, that's not the worst thing, is it? She lets the kiss continue for a good while, enjoying her warm, soft lips and the strange aftertaste of the batarian ale that colors the kiss. She shifts her right leg to make things a bit less awkward, slipping it between Jessica's to let her press closer. Something

about the constant presence of the cold winds howling outside, rattling their windows makes pressing up against Jessica under the comfort of the blanket all the more appealing. Her weight shifts a little, still not letting go of the kiss as she searches for a more comfortable position. Her right hand goes up just a little to press Jessica closer, and she gradually shifts until she's partway ontop of her again, pressing Jessica down

against the seat with her fortunately light weight.

Jessica moves with Yan Sun as she begins to shift, finding her back against the seat once again and their legs intertwined. Her breathing deepens as the kiss continues and her right hand, now freed, slides beneath the bottom of Yan Sun's shirt. The coarse, scarred skin on the palm of her right hand has a distinctly different feel from her left. Almost prickly at times as she runs it along Yan Sun's lower back. There's a lack of

sensation, lost amongst burnt nerve endings. But the warmth of flesh-on-flesh is still a comfort. Her left hand returns to Yan Sun's waist as she grows more absorbed by the kiss, the autopilot in her brain taking over.

Yan Sun has long-since gotten used to the touch of Jessica's right hand. It was a strange sensation at first, but she never minded it. By now it's familiar, and comforting in its own way. Like so many things about Jessica it might be rough, but it's also unique. With Jessica's thick cargo pants offering little in the way of touch her right hand slides up her side, slipping beneath her shirt. Her fingers are still quite cold from her earlier

excursion, a fact which she doesn't seem to consider, lost in the kiss as she leans more heavily into it.

Jessica the sudden jolt of ice fingers against bare skin causes her to jolt back, inadvertently breaking the kiss with a wince, squirming ever so slightly from the touch. The temporary reprieve causes her to snicker as she looks up at Yan Sun, her chest rising and falling as she takes the opportunity to catch her breath, teeth sank into her own bottom lip. She works her hands around Yan Sun's waist until they meet at her stomach,

showing an unwillingness to break that skin-on-skin contact until she absolutely must. She playfully flicks her thumb against the button on Yan Sun's pants a few times, the mischievous grin returning to her face. There's a familiar, small, cocky rise of her left eyebrow as she holds Yan Sun's gaze and slowly undoes the button with her right hand while she draws small shapes along her stomach with the thumb of her left hand.

Yan Sun can't help the breathless laugh that slips out when she realizes the cause of Jessica's wince. She uses her left elbow to take a bit of her weight off of Jessica as she too catches her breath, looking completely unapologetic as she lets Jessica's belly warm her hand. She mirrors her grin as she looks down at the face of the woman below her, lit only by the light of Litae. Her own face is shrouded in shadow cast by her hair, but with

a blink her cybernetics come to life, the intricate patterns of light breaking up the darkness. She squirms a little in response to the thumb brushing across her stomach, drawing in a quiet breath as her expression changes. Jessica's steady, confident gaze as the button of her jeans is undone seems to be all it takes fluster her, even now, sucking in her lower lip as she looks down at her, left eye glowing electric blue in the dark.

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