#EdgeOfTheWorld – October 9, 2019

The next hour or so is spent making sure they have everything they need and that everything on the truck is covered and locked down in preparation for the approaching storm. The unending sea makes it difficult to gauge just how far out the storm is, but a sky full of dark clouds that spark with lightning every now and then continues to encroach on their position as they hurry to make sure nothing has been forgotten. The flap on the front of the

tent is left open for a while longer once they find themselves settling back down to allow for some venting while Jessica makes a quick meal for them beside the opening. Nothing fancy. Just Mallory's leftovers. Both the eggs and the rice dish are mixed together atop their small, portable camping stove. The wind picking up enough to start getting the inside of the tent wet seems to be Jessica's indicator that the food is probably warm enough and

she promptly shuts down the small camping stove and closes the tent.

Jessica is seated opposite of Yan Sun, pan of mashed-up leftovers between them with a couple of forks stabbed into it. The checklist of tasks and busywork has helped to keep her mind from dwelling too much on the past over the previous hour or so. On the baggage of it all. Of this place. Of this planet. Of this life. From dwelling on the emotional punch behind things said in the heat of the moment by the woman across from her. But now

that things have slowed down, there's nowhere left to run from her thoughts. So she sits in silence as the distant rumbling of thunder grows closer and the patter of rain atop the tent louder. Boots and winter gear have been set atop her armor crate to allow them to dry. The heater is on, but it doesn't have quite as much work to do now that they're out of the snow. With the tent protecting them from the biting cold, it's

relatively comfortable in the small tent. Grey cargo pants and a white tanktop is her current attire, having left the thermal shirt she was wearing amongst her winter gear to dry. She stares at the food on the pan, doing more pushing around with her fork than actual eating as she tries to sort through her thoughts, a tired, distant look etched into her features. A bottle of beer dangles from her left hand that's propped against

her knee.

Yan Sun likewise found herself focusing on the practical task at hand as they got the last of their things secured and got the cooking gear set up, but once Jessica started heating up the leftovers she found herself just sitting there in the tent, attention on the storm, only shifting to Jessica when she's sure her focus is on the food. Now that the tent has been closed up that distraction is gone, and a distinct awkwardness has slipped into

her demeanor. She's not quite sure how to act. Not quite sure if anything's changed. There's that voice at the back of her head that tells her she's done something wrong. The one that she hasn't been able to fully shake even after all these years. The thing that keeps her nerves in check is the lingering weight of the break in Jessica's emotional walls. Her freakout can wait. It doesn't matter if she messed up. It doesn't matter if

she's a weirdo who let it slip that she got way too attached way too quickly. Not when Jessica is hurting like this. What matters is being there for her. The final thought causes her gaze to lift from the food, where her fork is aimlessly poking, to shoot Jessica a cautious, worried look, trying to discern her thoughts. She's sitting cross-legged opposite Jessica, her boots and winter gear put away for drying much like hers. The

tired, distant expression she's met with causes her gaze to dart back down, scooping up a forkful of rice and egg and taking a bite to have something to do as she tries to figure out what to say. It feels odd to sit in the muddy aftermath of the dam breaking, trying to act normal after that flood of emotion.

Jessica is seated with each leg slightly outstretched on either side of the pan, left wrist propped against her knee. She remains silent, fork pushing the same bit of eggs around for a few more moments until Yan Sun taking a bite seems to rattle her out of her thoughts. She shoots a slightly-embarrassed glance Yan Sun's way, feeling far more exposed than she's comfortable with. Perhaps a ridiculous notion given everything they've been

through together already. But old habits are difficult to break. Adrasteia was a hard place filled with people looking for the slightest sign of weakness to take advantage of. The burdens she carried on her shoulders were reserved for those quiet moments when it was just her and Martin. The one person who kept her anchored. With him gone, she's been lost in a sea of emotion that has been eating away at her from the inside. Her

gaze turns back towards the pan and she quickly shovels a bite of food into her mouth and takes a healthy swig of her drink in an attempt at masking her distant thoughts. "Is good..." she offers on the old woman's cooking just to penetrate the uncomfortable silence, but her words end sound much more quiet and forced than intended, any energy or enthusiasm long since drained from her.

Yan Sun nods a couple of times, swallowing and sucking in her lips as her fork returns to the pan, slowly scooting another bit of food up against the wall to get it on her fork, gaze following it. "It is." she agrees pointlessly. She has a beer of her own, the bottle kept upright between her crossed legs. There's been no complaints about it. At least it's not more batarian ale. She takes another bite and looks up at Jessica, feeling like she

should say something, but she hasn't found the words yet by the time the food is swallowed. Thankfully, a strong gust of wind carrying a smattering of heavier rain draws her attention to the roof of the tent. "Think-... think the tent will hold up?" she asks quietly. There's a bit of genuine worry in there, not just filling the silence. She's seen what the wind can do back home, and she doesn't know the temperament of Aite's weather.

Jessica begins poking at the food again, taking her time in scooping up another forkful, her appetite not exactly strong after everything. The question and associated gust of wind causes her to look upward, studying the ceiling in silence for a moment as if it might provide some answers. She gives a small shrug of her shoulders as her attention tentatively shifts back to Yan Sun, unable to hold eye contact for more than just a moment. "It

will be fine." she assures quietly, not seeming all that worried. Whether that's due to a genuine lack of concern or simply a lack of energy is anyone's guess, however. "Me and Kirill have been in much worse storms than this..." she offers, shifting her focus towards the tent's front flap as it buckles inward slightly from a particularly mean gust of wind that's felt throughout the entire tent. "...It will be fine." she repeats

with a small nod before burying her attention back to the eggs so she can have something to look at that isn't Yan Sun.

Yan Sun nods again, her gaze lingering on the tent as the cloth buckles inward to the wind. The impression and sound of the weather outside causes her to hunch a little without even thinking about it, shoulders pulling closer. A brief glance Jessica's way is followed by a quiet "Okay." and a shadow of a smile that never quite manifests, trusting that they're safe. The silence descends again as she pokes at her food a bit, although she soon

decides to leave the fork for a moment and take a swig from her beer instead, tugging the bottle free and lifting it to her lips. She keeps it in her hands as she lowers it, fidgeting a little. She hesitates for a moment before speaking. "The weather can get pretty severe back home. But the city is built for it. ...most of it anyway. Everyone just... hunkers down, you know? We'll-... uhm, we'll probably see a couple of storms while

we're-..." she trails off, gaze darting Jessica's way again and an awkward look crossing her face as she shifts a little. "...I remember the first time I wasn't up in-... uhm, the first time I wasn't in my room for one of the big ones. It was... scary." she admits with a faint, brief hint of a laugh, a bit of the awkwardness faded as old memories run through her mind. "I was convinced the place was coming apart."

Jessica's gaze remains on the food at first as Yan Sun begins to speak, focusing on stabbing her fork into another glob of eggs. The reminder of the fact that they're going to be leaving soon prompts a small, uncomfortable shift that she stifles with another swig of her drink before proceeding to shovel another bite of eggs in. But as Yan Sun continues to share, she peers across at her through her brow. It helps to dissipate a bit of

the awkwardness that had settled in. A small, worn out smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. "Where you were at?" she asks in an attempt at just keeping the small talk going. That's what she needs right now. Keep the focus off of her. Off her meltdown- as tame as it might have been by most standards.

Yan Sun seems to pick up on the slight reduction of the discomfort in the air, her body relaxing a little as she sips the beer again. Her eyebrows furrow at the question, looking down at the bottle for a moment. "I was, uh... I was with my friends at-... we had this spot on top of an old apartment building where we'd hang out. Some of them lived there." She did too, for a time. It was a lot more than a hangout spot. A base of operations. A

hideout. A home. Her gaze has gone back to Jessica as she speaks. "It was mostly cobbled together from old prefabs, so... it wasn't the sturdiest thing. Or... it didn't look like it was anyway." she clarifies with a little shrug, since it survived more than a few storms during her time with the Little Dragons. "Rattled like crazy when a typhoon rolled in." It feels more than a little weird to talk about her old life with Jessica, and

it brings with it a lot of complicated feelings, but she can't help but feel like the woman in front of her deserves a moment's respite, to have the focus taken away from her for a bit. And... maybe there's a part of her that wants Jessica to know more about her too, despite the complications. After everything Jessica has bared to her... isn't that why they're going to Earth in the first place? Even if she'll never be able to meet

any of the people important to her...

Jessica prods her fork into another bite of food, but leaves it for the moment as she finds herself listening to Yan Sun. She extends her right leg, straightening it out along the side of the pan, and leans a little heavier against her left knee. Yan Sun's talk of rickety old apartments and abandoned prefabs garners a small raise of her brow. It's not hard to see the pattern there. "You are going to show me this, yes?" she asks, her

usually gravelly voice a bit hoarse. She glances down only briefly to lift another bite to her lips before setting the fork aside, what little remained of her appetite satisfied for now.

Yan Sun sucks in her lips, looking down at the bottle resting against her leg as a bit of fresh discomfort enters her face. "I, uh... I don't think that's a good idea." she says quietly, avoiding looking at Jessica now, disproportionately focused on her beer.

Jessica furrows her brow and brings her beer to her lips, there's not much left in it, however, resulting in her stretching to set the empty bottle on the armor crate where it won't topple over and go rolling around. "What is the problem?" she asks, once more stretching a bit to reach the handle on the cooler and pull it close enough so she can get a fresh beer without having to get up. Shaping up to be a booze-heavy night, so might as

well get drunk comfortably. By the sound of things, the storm has reached the coast. The rain hits the canvas at a steady pace, sounding like small pebbles.

Yan Sun lets out a sigh, shifting a little uncomfortably, deciding to raise one of her knees and wrap an arm around it, the other leg remaining folded. For a moment she wishes she'd shared something else, but the truth is almost all of her past is tied to people she'd rather not think about. For a moment her attention is back on the tent, listening to the smattering of the rain, but then it goes to Jessica. "...because my ex is one of the

people that lives there." she explains with a wince, taking a long swig from her beer. It'll do tonight, she's gotten used to it even if she doesn't really like it.

Jessica shoves a few things around in the cooler, but her gaze darts back to Yan Sun when she reveals the reason behind her wanting to steer clear of her old stomping grounds. It garners a small frown as she pulls a fresh beer free. "Changyang?" she asks, probably purposely pronouncing it wrong. A little bit of her usual self shines through in the form of the contempt in her tone. Contempt for someone she's never met and doesn't know

the first thing about. She holds the bottle by the head as she extends it towards Yan Sun.

Yan Sun nods in confirmation of the obvious, her gaze falling down to the pan, a frown settling in on her face at the uncomfortable mix of feelings and memories that accompany the thought of Changying. Upon noticing the bottle extended her way she lifts the arm around her leg, going to grab it and set it down in front of her since she still has a sip or two left from her current bottle.

Jessica's frown deepens at Yan Sun's silence as she fishes a beer out for herself and lazily closes the lid of the cooler. She lets the silence persist as she performs her usual, painful looking trick to do away with the bottle cap and allows it to drop from her teeth onto the floor of the tent. She shifts in place a bit to get comfortable once more, the small lantern casting shadows against the canvas structure. After taking a healthy

swig from her drink, she brings her elbow back atop her left knee and lets out a small sigh, seeming unsure of what to say.

Yan Sun remains silent at first, unsure where to go from there. Changying is pretty close to the bottom of things she'd like to talk about. To buy herself some time (and get some more alcohol in her system) she empties the remainder of her first beer, the empty bottle soon joining Jessica's on the crate. "Things were... messy, when I left. I don't really know how many friends I have left in Hong Kong." she offers quietly, reluctantly, a

faint shrug accompanying the words as she pokes at the food again, fork back in her hand and gaze on the pan.

Jessica gives a soft, muttered, "Oh..." as her only comment. And then, more awkward silence. From one uncomfortable, depressing topic to another. Great way to spend an evening. Another crack of thunder and a spire of lightning, the spectacle visible even through the tent with the way the area lights up. The rain is just a constant, torrential downpour by this point. A steady, unending stacatto of taps against the roof of the tent.

There's plenty of questions that gnaw at her. About Yan Sun's past. About Changying. About her friends (Ex-friends by the sound of things) and what it is that really drove her from her home. But it's all dulled as she finds her thoughts carried back by the silence that permeates the interior of the tent to those three words uttered by Yan Sun. Just the mere thought of it is enough to punch a pit into her stomach and she

quickly slugs back another swig of her drink, pointedly turning her gaze downward from Yan Sun as if worried she'll know what Jessica is thinking about. See it in her face. Sense it. "Maybe you should put some music on or-... or something..." she offers in something of a detached mutter.

Yan Sun eats another bite of food in silence, her appetite not all that much better than Jessica's. She listens to the storm as she chews, her mind dwelling on the past. Wondering just what the people she left think of her. It's a strange feeling to realize she's barely even kept in touch with the people that used to be her best friends. It's just been too complicated. All her history with the Little Dragons is tangled up with Changying, and

with the way things ended... She forces herself to stop thinking about the past, gaze rising just in time to catch Jessica looking down, leaving her chewing her lip a little awkwardly until the suggestion is voiced, causing her to nod a couple of times. "Yeah..." she agrees, her voice catching slightly. She digs the little holo-emitter out of her pocket, putting it down next to her as her cybernetics light up. Soon enough some

electronic music joins the sound of the rain and thunder, the emitter projecting an abstract, 3-dimensional shape that shifts and oscillates with the beat.

Jessica gets a small sense of relief as the music fills the tent, taking a bit of weight off her shoulders at having to attempt to fill the gaps of silence herself. Normally uncomfortable silence wouldn't bother her. As a matter of fact, she usually thrives off of doing her damndest to make things as uncomfortable as possible. It's a talent. But this is... different. Between the embarrassment over her own breakdown and the discomfort of

Yan Sun's unexpected admission, the distraction is a welcome one. Of course there's not really a whole lot for her to keep herself preoccupied with and there's only so many places she can look in the small, cramped tent to avoid meeting Yan Sun's gaze. So after a short while of nursing her beer, she opts to scoot away from the pan and get to work on clearing up some space so she can at least lay down until the storm has passed.

Yan Sun manages another bite of food as Jessica starts to shuffle things around, but afterwards, with her appetite gone and with no distractions to occupy her she ends up just looking at her. Studying her as she creates space to lie down. She can't help but wonder what's going through Jessica's head. The relaxed music is little more than a band-aid to the renewed awkwardness of the growing silence, and she finds herself letting out a sigh,

looking down at her beer. "We... don't have a bottle-opener, do we?" she asks quietly, eyebrows furrowing.

Jessica is on her knees in the midst of laying down a pillow when Yan Sun speaks up, prompting her to glance her way with a hummed, "Mmm?" It takes her a moment before she registers the question, far too preoccupied with her own thoughts at the moment. "There is one maybe in the truck...?" she offers, not even sounding particularly sure about that. Not that it matters with the storm raging on outside. Drawing a breath in through her

nose, she extends a hand out for Yan Sun to pass the bottle over.

Yan Sun briefly eyes the tent door as if genuinely considering braving the storm in the interest of sparing Jessica's teeth. The outstretched hand causes her to look her way and hesitate for a moment before sighing and handing it over, already wincing pre-emptively.

Jessica raises up a bit higher on her knees as she takes the bottle. Wedging the edge of the cap between her back teeth she tilts her head to the side a bit. There's a few false starts as she wrenches the bottle a couple of times without any success, resulting in her looking a little bit like a dog with a chew toy, but eventually she seems confident that she has a firm grip with her teeth and gives the bottle a painful-looking tug. The

cap remains behind, slightly bent and clenched between her teeth as she rips the bottle free and passes it back to Yan Sun. She drops the cap into the palm of her hand and prods at her gums with her tongue for a moment to make sure she didn't cut herself before flicking the cap towards the woman in a hollow attempt at being playful and returns to preparing the sleeping bag on the ground. "I am still having a half of a bottle of

the batarian stuff in the truck. When the storm is gone we will finish it, mmm?" she muses.

Yan Sun seems caught between a wince and a smile as she struggles to watch Jessica fight the bottle. Her eventual victory elicits a slight, fond snicker though, the faint smile manifesting for the briefest of moments as she shakes her head in disbelief. There's a quiet 'Thanks' as she accepts the bottle, the subdued fondness in her expression lingering after the smile fades. Her comment on the painful-looking maneuver is interrupted before it

can start as the cap hits her forehead, causing her to jerk her head back, blinking. "Uh... sure." she says in response to Jessica's suggestion, the thought of the batarian ale making the now-opened beer in her hand seem more appealing by comparison. She shifts a bit, folding her legs to her side, one hand helping to prop her up as she watches Jessica prepare the sleeping bag, taking a sip from the new bottle.

Jessica uses a hand to smooth out the surface of the open sleeping bag and scoots towards the pillow, sure to take her beer with her. With nothing but time with the storm raging outside she lays on her side, planting an elbow against the pillow and using her hand to prop up her head. Her other hand remains fixed around the neck of her beer bottle, keeping it pulled in close against her body to keep it from spilling. Her gaze falls to

Yan Sun's knee as she focuses on the music, hoping to let it distract her thoughts from straying for the moment. Of course it doesn't work. Not really. But that's okay. That's what the beer is for. If you can't ignore your problems- your worries- your fears... Just drown them, right? The downpour of rain continues, its faint thumping joining the relaxed music that fills the tent. The occasional roll of thunder sounds out, loud

enough to stab through the music.

Yan Sun 's gaze follows her bottle down after she's drank from it, studying the liquid within as the temporary distraction of the bottle-opening fades and her thoughts wander again. For a while the rain, the music and the thunder reigns uncontested, but then she sucks in her lips, gaze shifting back to Jessica, unwilling to just sit there and avoid her, uncomfortably trying to pretend like nothing. She takes a longer swig of her beer,

perhaps hoping it will help her unease a bit, and then she starts to shift, putting the pan of half-eaten food aside near the edge of the tent and shuffling closer to Jessica, lying down next to her, mirroring her pose, although she keeps the beer in her left hand, the elbow propping her up into a slightly more upright position. Her right hand seeks out Jessica's left lower arm, thumb just stroking gently back and forth across her

tattooed skin as she studies her.

Jessica looks to Yan Sun as she's joined at the sleeping bag, jarred from her whatever deep thoughts her mind was lost in. Her focus shifts to the hand on her arm, studying it in silence for a moment. "I did not say you could join me, kitty cat." she says quietly, trying her best to muster up some of that usual, playful edge to hide her worries under, but it just ends up falling flat. Even more so when she finally hazards to meet Yan

Sun's gaze, her brown eye bouncing right off of Yan Sun's, unable to even hold eye contact as she turns her attention right back to her hand.

Yan Sun swallows as Jessica tries and fails to employ her usual routine of playful deflection. Her obvious unease only serves to amplify her own, eyebrows furrowing as her gaze falls to her hand, which lifts slightly from Jessica's arm, closing and hovering just above it. She hesitates for a moment, sucking in her lips, before speaking. "Listen, Jessica... I-..." she trails off with a sigh, closing her eyes as the words don't come. Her worry

and empathy for Jessica is mixing with her feelings for her and the fresh pit in her stomach as she wonders if she's screwed up. If she's going to scare Jessica off now. Right now she's finding it hard to listen to the part of her mind that remembers all the admissions in soft moments, quickly swept aside, the unspoken feelings that could practically be felt in the air. It's being drowned out by the part born from her own

insecurities and her father's disapproving stare. The part that is insisting that she's an idiot for falling so hard. The part that tells her she's just a pathetic, perverted fool that's attached herself to the first person that gave her what she wanted. Or that she's just a pointlessly rebellious brat finding the partner most likely to upset her father. The part that keeps telling her to remember that Jessica just wanted sex and

someone to help her with her revenge. More than one of many thoughts that shoot through her mind are uncomfortably familiar. Her mind has gotten stuck on the last though, it somehow stings more now than when it was said. The idea that she was being used. Only... the memories of the trip they met on don't feel like that. They're still enough to almost bring a smile to her face even now. And... Jessica didn't go through with it. She's

here. Now. And they're leaving. Together. That thought causes the other part of her to gain the upper hand. Sure, Jessica might lie to her face and shun emotion like the plague, actively pushing her away at times, but Yan Sun has seen what's beneath all that. And it's real. She just hopes she hasn't condemned them to a new barrier of discomfort born from the need that overcame her to make it clear exactly what she's feeling for the

complicated person in front of her that she's gotten to know over the past months. And she does know her. Yan Sun has zoned out completely after trailing off, lost in her own spiraling thoughts, but that final one brings her back, gaze snapping up to Jessica's face again. "Sorry, uh..." she mumbles as she realizes she got lost in her own mind.

Jessica hazards a glance at Yan Sun's face as she waits for whatever is to follow her initial words. Something to ease the discomfort. An explanation that what she said was just a kneejerk reaction brought on by emotion in the heat of the moment. Something to placate that fear bubbling up in her chest. Fear for-... for what, exactly? She's laying here in a small, cramped tent in the presence of one of the only people in the entire

galaxy that knows her. Really knows her. Something that applies to so few people that are still breathing that she could probably count them all on one hand and still have fingers left over. But still those three words cause a lump in her throat. Why? Another person to let down? Another person to be let down by? Another person with expectations that she can't possibly live up to? I disappoint everyone that I

care about she had admitted in a drunken rant just nights ago. And she does care about Yan Sun. Maybe that's the part that scares her the most. Another person to lose? Just like her parents. Her brother. Her friends. Like Kirill and Rafe. Like all of the others at the Gorge who put their trust and faith into someone she pretended to be. But Yan Sun doesn't seem to have any more answers to anything than she does and her

mumbled apology causes Jessica to turn her gaze down to her beer between them and she takes a long pull from the bottle. "...Mmmm..." she hums distantly and another crack of thunder sounds out over the music.

Yan Sun draws in a long breath, briefly looking like she might say something, but instead she lets out a heavy sigh, sitting up, still next to Jessica, legs extended along the sleeping bag. She takes a long swig form her beer before letting it rest in her lap, looking across the tent at the door that shudders in the wind. "I made things weird." she suddenly blurts out. "I didn't mean-... I mean-... I shouldn't have-..." Her face goes through

a number of emotions in the span of seconds. Nervousness, embarrassment, frustration, tiredness. "I don't want things to be weird." she says with a helpless shrug, sounding a little desperate and almost choked up, the worries and insecurities spinning through her mind brought to the surface. There's frustration there too, enough to almost bring her to tears from nothing, even though she thought she was all cried out, because it's so

very true. She so very badly doesn't want things to be weird and awkward. She doesn't want to have ruined things by being too honest. "But-... I-... it's just true, though." she sighs, sucking in her lips as her gaze shifts to Jessica, unwilling to backtrack.

Jessica continues to study her bother, a slight wince her only reaction when Yan Sun begins to speak. The desperation and emotion in her voice is enough to pull Jessica's gaze back to her face and shift her weight to her right forearm to prop up her body rather than her elbow, allowing her to sit up a bit more. There's a glassiness to her brown eye as she holds back what few tears she has left to spare as Yan Sun's embarrassed rant

culminates not in her retracting her words, but in her doubling down on her previous assertion. It causes that pit in her stomach to deepen and she finds herself caught somewhere between wanting to lean over and kiss the woman in front of her and wanting to shout at her for being so stupid. But she doesn't do either. Instead, she shifts her beer from her left hand to her right now that it's free. Her left hand comes to rest on

Yan Sun's inner thigh, perhaps a bit too high and intimate to be appropriate for the situation, but it's just her way. It's her comfort. She gives it a gentle squeeze as she fails to find the words to make things right or the courage to push her away. It would be the right thing to do. It would. That much she's sure of. To break things off before Yan Sun has a chance to get too attached. To spare her from the pain that's

sure to accompany when she inevitably fucks everything up. In time Yan Sun would get over it. Hell, she'd be better off for it. And one day she'd probably even look back on this time fondly. Jessica could be relegated to a fun, short fling Yan Sun had. A rich girl slumming it out in the Terminus. She could be a good memory. That's more than she can hope for if she stays in Yan Sun's life. Things will degrade. They always do.

She'll mess things up one way or another and probably drag Yan Sun down with her. It'll be a race to see which happens first, either she gets bored of Yan Sun, or Yan Sun gets fed up with her shit. But a good memory? Maybe that's something she still has a chance to leave her with. Her dark brown eye pulls away and she sniffs hard, fighting hard to keep any more tears from escaping. She's already done enough crying today. Too

much crying. "I am thinking that-..." she begins, her voice low and shaky and she trails off before she can even get the words out. Swallowing hard, she tries again, "...It is sounding like the storm is getting better... I-... I should get the booze..." she offers, suddenly feeling the need for a stronger drink.

Yan Sun swallows as Jessica's hand comes to rest on her thigh, gaze darting briefly to the hand before going back to Jessica's face, studying her in silence as she tries to discern what's going through her mind, embarrassment, nerves and worry all plain to see in her own face. She draws in a quiet breath as Jessica speaks, holding it as she trails off, only to expel it in a brief, embarrassed chuckle, nodding faintly before looking towards

the door. The sound of the storm causes her eyebrows to furrow. "Are-... are you sure that's safe?" she asks, looking back to Jessica. It's a genuine question, concern for Jessica overtaking her unease momentarily.

Jessica gives a number of small nods, running her hand across the length of Yan Sun's upper thigh before retracting it and scooting away and beginning to climb to her knees in the cramped quarters, another loud sniffle sounding out. "Is fine." she assures, desperately needing some fresh air and a moment to clear her head before she says or does something she can't take back. She sets her beer on her armor crate as she begins to slip her

still-damp shirt on over her head. "Is-... the rain is more slow now." she explains softly, tilting her head back to glance up to the ceiling as if to prove her point. The rain is calming down. It's still steady, but it sounds like the storm is on the verge of passing them by. But that doesn't matter because, right now, she just desperately wants to get out of this conversation before her emotions get the best of her again.

Yan Sun remains where she is, watching Jessica get ready to head out, but the sniffles, not unnoticed, cause the worried frown to linger, albeit changed in nature. "Okay..." she says softly, pulling her legs back and crossing them as she continues to study Jessica, fidgeting with the beer in her hands.

Jessica hastily finishes getting dressed. Floofy hat. Winter jacket. Boots. Hood up. Beer in-hand. She doesn't spare another glance Yan Sun's way until she's forced to when she zips the tent up behind her. Even then it's little more than a brief glance as the windswept rain whips at her back. But that's more than enough to see that she's on the verge of tears and things are not okay.

Yan Sun sucks in her lips when she sees the look on Jessica's face, and when the tent closes, sealing the windy, rainy outside - and Jessica- away, her fidgeting only increases. She takes a sip from her beer and tries to remain where she is, but it doesn't work long. Her worry just grows with every moment she sits still, Jessica's words just hours ago, and ones uttered in other moments of lowered guard playing through her head, and it's not

long before she's set her bottle on the crate and scooted over to start putting her boots on.

Even as the minutes pass on, there's no sign of Jessica. Just the sound of rain against the tent mixing with the music pouring from Yan Sun's emitter, the music slowly gaining the upper hand as the storm continues to roll through.

Yan Sun slips her jacket on over her hoodie, briefly hesitating with her hand on the tent zipper before drawing in a breath and starting to open the tent door, bracing herself against the rain as she clambers out and turns to hastily close it behind her, leaving the warmth and music behind.

Even though the storm is on its way out, the rain is still coming down and the skies dark grey, gusts of wind occasionally taking it horizontally, whipping it against Yan Sun.

Jessica is visible through the truck's windows. She has the doors closed, one boot pressed against the dashboard, head tilted back against the headrest of the driver's-side seat with her ridiculous hat sat beside her. She reaches up to rub at her tear-stained cheeks, completely oblivious to Yan Sun's presence.

Yan Sun stands up, looking around until she spots Jessica in the truck. She approaches slowly, flinching slightly against the rain hitting her face and quickly soaking into her hair. She stops by the passenger-side door, out of view thanks to the truck's height, and hesitates again, wondering if she should just leave Jessica be. Her hand fidgets a little around the handle as she focuses on a patch of muddy ground for a moment, the rain

continuing to come down, but then she draws in another deep breath and opens the door, cautiously peeking inside.

Jessica startles as the door is yanked open, quickly sitting up, boot coming to rest back on the floorboard. She blinks hard a few times, quickly bringing a hand back up to rub at her cheeks again. With a deep sniff, she reaches down to grasp at the bottle on the floorboard, lifting it up. "I-... I was just going to be coming back-..." she stammers in discomfort, not particularly wanting Yan Sun to see just how much of an effect the day

has had on her. But there's no hiding it. "I-..." she begins, desperately wanting to avoid more awkwardness. More discomfort. But there's no avoiding it at this point. Lines have already been crossed. Things said that can't be unsaid. Her gaze drifts to the seat beside her as she trails off.

Yan Sun nods faintly in acknowledgement of Jessica's stammered lie, gaze briefly falling to the truck's step before returning to her. She follows her gaze to the seat and wordlessly climbs inside, closing the door behind her. Her hair is soaked from the rain, flat and sticking to her face, and her jacket barely had a chance to start drying before going right back out into the stormy weather. She crosses her hands in her lap, looking down at

them and then over to Jessica again, eyebrows furrowing as she studies her damp cheeks and her blatant discomfort.

Jessica draws in a shaky breath, gaze remaining low. Fixed to Kirill's stupid hat. Moments pass in silence as the rain continues to hammer down on the windshield. "I do not want things to be weird." she eventually says, repeating Yan Sun's sentiment in little more than a whisper as she sets the bottle back down on the floor. She forces herself to meet Yan Sun's gaze and she scoots a bit closer, shifting to better face her, right leg

lifting onto the seat in order to do so. Her right hand moves to grasp Yan Sun's left. That coarse, rough, familiar texture of scarred skin harsh against Yan Sun's. She squeezes her hand. Hard. Almost painfully so as she bites down on her words. "I want to-... I still want to go with you to Earth." she stammers, frustration briefly slipping into her features at her inability to express herself. At her inability to push those

fears- those worries and concerns shaped by her own past- aside and just lay it all out there like Yan Sun did. To speak from her heart. She gives a small shake of her head as she powers through her own discomfort. "To-... to go with you to anywhere! Because-... because there is nothing here for me anymore." she shrugs, the admission causing her voice to crack as the words leave her mouth. "Home is a 'who', mmm?" she hums a

sentiment she's offered many times, forcing as much confidence as she can muster into her shaky voice, brows furrowing as she urges herself not to back down. Not after everything. She can't just throw it all away. Burn it all down. Sweep it all away. Not forever. Eventually you have to move forward. You have to rebuild. Restart. Live again. Love again. You have to allow yourself to be happy. But even as she stares into Yan

Sun's eyes, those three words just don't come. Like an allergic reaction, they just swell up in her throat. "You are my home now, kitty cat." she offers in their stead, her words heavy with emotion as another tear slips free, following the path set by the dampness down the contours of her cheek and she desperately hopes that it's enough to ease Yan Sun's obvious concerns. That it's enough to keep things from crumbling down.

Yan Sun shifts as Jessica does, turning partly towards her and returning the squeeze of her hand as she listens, her full attention on Jessica. She sucks in her lips as she hears her words, nodding a couple of times. The assertion that there's nothing left for Jessica here causes her gaze to fall away briefly, but the by-now familiar sentiment that follows brings it back, the blinking the only hint of resurfacing tears amid her rain-soaked

face. The final statement prompts another, softer nod, and a brief laugh slips out. Nervous. Relieved. The weight of Jessica's words, although they're not exactly new, is far from lost on her, and more nods follow, the relief turning into a a rattled smile at the reaffirmation of Jessica's feelings, silencing her insecurity and the worries tied to it. It helps some of the others too. Helps focus her resolve. Jessica doesn't just want

to be with her, she wants to move forward with her life... it's just so hard for her. That's plain to see. But she can. She will. Yan Sun refuses to believe otherwise, and she wants nothing more than to be there to help her on that road. Her instinctual response is to wrap Jessica up in another hug, squeezing her tightly and pressing a kiss against her neck... and most certainly pressing cold, wet hair against her cheek in the

process.

Jessica is quick to return the gesture. To wrap her arms tightly around Yan Sun, a loud sniffle sounding out as she does. The wet hair in her face is the least of her concerns at the moment, not to mention she's already pretty soaked from her walk to the truck. The blankets that Kirill has lined the seats with maintain a vague, wet outline of where Jessica was sitting. Her shoulders rattle a bit as she presses her face against Yan Sun's

shoulder, pressing an aimless kiss against her as she pulls her firmly against her body, the positioning of her right leg and the awkwardness of the seat making it a rather uncomfortable, somewhat painful hug, but she holds on tightly.

Yan Sun welcomes the awkwardly positioned, slightly painful hug, the physical discomfort far preferable to the emotional one, and a small price to pay for the closeness as she keeps her grip on Jessica, nuzzling the crook of her neck as tears mix with the rain-dampness. She plants a few more haphazard kisses against her skin as fresh waves of emotion hit her, relief and affection at the forefront. She just remains like that for a while,

enjoying the closeness and listening to the rain smattering loud against the windshield, but then her grip starts to loosen a little as her kisses travel upward and her head starts to lift, trying to pull back so she can look at Jessica.

Jessica presses a few more unfocused kisses against Yan Sun's shoulder, lost in the thick layers of her jacket as they merely hold one another. When Yan Sun loosens the hug and pulls back, Jessica lowers her focus, giving a quick sniff and blinking away at the wetness, that uncharacteristic insecurity that has plagued her throughout the day showing through briefly once more. Insecurity at everything being laid so bare. Tear-stained

cheeks. Her brown eye red from crying, a sharp contrast to the lifeless, pale white of her right. But as she meets Yan Sun's gaze, it slowly melts away and she tilts her head forward, pressing her forehead against her partner's and running her nose alongside Yan Sun's lovingly as she so often does. "I am glad that you are here with me." she utters in a whisper, but the words carry so much weight with them.

Yan Sun 's hands slip down to Jessica's lower arms, grasping them as she returns the affectionate gesture with a small breath and a faint smile, meeting Jessica's gaze as their noses brush against each other, even though she's a little blurry this close. The words cause her to swallow, eyes closing, but her forehead continues to press against Jesssica's. Her hands slide down to grasp her hands and squeeze them tightly, lingering close. "Me

too." she replies as her eyes open again, choking up a little. Her head pulls back slightly to study her, but her left hand lifts to the side of Jessica's face, palm covered in intricate, geometric lights as it finds its place against the rough, marred skin of Jessica's neck. Her thumb brushes gently across her cheek, wiping at the wetness there as she studies her. Her feelings are painted clear as day in her face, even if she

doesn't voice them again.

Jessica leans into the palm that presses against the right side of her face, eyes closing as she does. It provides more of a pressure than anything else, nerve endings burned away and scar tissue dulling any actual sensation. But she doesn't pull away. Long forgotten are the days when she would try to shift attention away from her burns in subtle ways, doing her damndest to mask insecurities with confidence. The little things, like the

way she would position herself just after they met, sure to keep Yan Sun on her left side whenever possible. Or the way she took great care not to touch Yan Sun with her right hand if she could help it. The small attempts at hiding her ugliness. But over time, those little tells have melted away. Yan Sun has seen her scars- her real scars- and yet here she is. At the edge of the world in a beat up hunk of metal as the sky

pours down on them. Her eye scans back and forth along the features of Yan Sun's face, her hands coming to rest on each of her sides as she does. She tilts her head forward, running the tip of her nose along the length of Yan Sun's one last time before pressing a soft, gentle kiss against her lips.

Yan Sun returns the kiss just as softly, her hand shifting to Jessica's neck as she does, fingertips brushing over the uneven, short hair that's started to grow. For a moment she leans further into the kiss, the emotion practically felt in the way it remains slow and gentle even as it deepens. With her legs still on the floor of the truck the positioning is a little awkward (not to mention that she's in a wet winter jacket), but she doesn't

care, her right hand shifting to Jessica's side as the hand leaves hers.

Jessica seems to be in no hurry to break the kiss, eyes shut, thumbs gently running up and down along her partner's sides. For a while, she's simply in her own world where only the two of them and this kiss exist. And that's where all of her focus goes, softly tracing slow circles around Yan Sun's tongue with her own. When she finally does pull back, she lingers close enough for her breath to be felt, eyes still closed as she sucks her

lips in, a small smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, heavy from the emotional exhaustion the day has carried but sincere. Honest. Filled with relief. She pokes her tongue out once again, gently prodding it against the edges of Yan Sun's lips a few times.

Yan Sun 's eyes open with a soft snicker as Jessica's tongue pokes at her lips, causing a grin to cross them. "You having fun there?" she asks with an amused tone as she pulls back a little, trying to lighten the weight of all the draining emotion of the past hours a bit. She once again studies Jessica's face, the grin slowly turning into a warm smile as she lingers close, gaze darting across her features. She's shifted a bit more to her

side during the kiss, half-sitting on one of her legs, and probably staining the edge of the blanket with mud.

Jessica allows a small snicker to slip out at the question, prompting her to open her eyes. She touches the tip of her tongue against the bottom of her upper front teeth as she studies Yan Sun. "Mmm." she hums an affirmation. Her left hand slips lower, coming to rest on the outside of Yan Sun's upper right thigh. It only lingers for a moment before the sky brightens in a momentary flash that's shortly followed up by a crack of thunder.

It causes her gaze to lazily flick past Yan Sun to the window and the tent beyond it, the light of the lantern that seeps out through the canvas barely visible through the rain. "We should... probably go back to the tent." she suggest through a sigh, not seeming particularly fond of moving at the moment. She's not all that excited about another trip through the heavy rain, either, but sitting out here in soaking wet clothes

probably isn't the best idea.

Yan Sun 's gaze falls away with a small snicker, and then shifts over toward the tent. "Yeah... probably a good idea." she agrees, studying the pouring rain for a moment before letting out a sigh and shifting, hands leaving Jessica. "Gonna need to buy some raincoats when we get to Hong Kong..." she muses, refusing to let herself get sucked into the discomfort associated with her home. "It's like this... a looot." she adds before cracking her

door open, glancing Jessica's way just to confirm she's coming before hopping out.

Jessica's smile grows ever-so-slightly as Yan Sun begins to make plans for their trip to Earth. "You are buying for me a raincoat." she corrects. "You never buy for me the new hat that you owe me." she reminds as she scoops her new hat up off the seat and begins scooting out after Yan Sun. She doesn't get very far before remembering her excuse for being out here in the first place and she stretches back towards the driver's seat,

scooping the bottle of batarian ale up off the floor. "Do not think that I forget about my hat, kitty cat. I remember everything." she continues, already sounding slightly more like her usual self as a bit of the tension fades from her shoulders. She tosses her hood back up and hops out of the truck after Yan Sun, quickly locking the truck up before leaning forward in an attempt at shielding herself from the rain as she

begins the short journey back towards the tent.

Yan Sun 's smile returns as it seems like a bit of that discomfort has faded and things feel a bit more like normal. "I haven't forgotten!" she assures with a snicker. "You're getting a hat from Earth." she clarifies as they head back to the tent, flinching and blinking as the rain accosts her on the return trip. She crouches down to zip the tent open, crawling in first and hastily starting to peel her muddy boots off so she can withdraw her

legs.

Jessica huddles up outside, wrapping her arms around herself as she crouches beneath the small canopy that's doing little to shield her from the rain while Yan Sun works off her boots. "Mmm." she hums, sounding none too convinced, "You are just hoping that I will forget..." she mutters. She bounces in place impatiently until the opening is cleared and she hastily repeats Yan Sun's process, stowing her boots back on the armor crate

inside before zipping the tent closed behind her. "Fuck!" she breathes as she remains on her knees at the entrance, soaked to the bone. Her teeth chatter together as she glances down at herself and begins to peel off her jacket, once more folding it over her armor crate in hope that it'll have an easier time drying.

Yan Sun is quick to peel off her own jacket, handing it to Jessica since she's closer to the armor crate. "I'd be pretty stupid to bet on forgetting from the woman who remembers 'eeeeverything'." she says, adding a bit of dramatic flair as she exaggerates Jessica's emphasis. She goes a step further with her removal of wet clothes since her jeans aren't faring all that much better, starting to peel them off.

Jessica gives a roll of her eyes that doesn't wipe the small smile from her face, though it is accompanied by a raise of her middle finger. She's only a step behind Yan Sun, stripping down to her white tanktop as her thermal shirt rejoins her jacket before on the crate slipping off her socks and getting to work on her cargo pants. Given her style of wearing pants that fit just enough to barely stay up on her hips, all it takes is

unbuttoning them for them to fall down on their own, causing them to bunch up around her knees and forcing her to shift onto her ass in order to begin tugging them off. Beneath them she's wearing a pair of simple black panties.

Yan Sun snickers in response to the middle finger, her smile only growing. Since her jeans are a tight fit they're giving her a bit of trouble with the way the fabric clings when wet, and she opts to slip out of her hoodie first, before returning her attention to the jeans, eyebrows furrowing as she peels them off. They take her socks with her, but she's quick to dig those out and put them back on since the thick blue winter socks are

thankfully still warm and dry. She no doubt takes longer than Jessica to shed her clothes, still focused by the time she's done.

Jessica doesn't put much effort in laying out her pants, merely flopping it over the crate as room is at a premium. In a tanktop and panties, she gives an exaggerated shiver, crawling on her knees over to the heater and cranking it up a notch as a chill sets in. "Cold feet." she complains through a frown as she shifts to position her feet near the heater, leaning back on her elbows as she watches Yan Sun struggle her way out of her

tight jeans, an amused smirk returning to her face.

Yan Sun shoots Jessica a smug smile upon freeing her socks from the jeans, wiggling her feet for emphasis once she's slipped the cozy socks back on. "Aww, that's a shame." she laments without any sympathy in the smug grin that still lingers as she channels Jessica a bit, shuffling closer to sit next to her, legs folded to her side as she looks down at her, one palm planted against the sleeping bag.

Jessica sends a scowl Yan Sun's way, her own socks a bit too wet to wear. "I could take these from you." she warns Yan Sun flatly as she flaunts her socks, cocking a threatening eyebrow as she looks up at the stupid, smug grin plaster across her face. Cold toes is no laughing matter. "You know this, yes?"

Yan Sun concedes this with a super-serious nod. "I know." she confirms. "Buuut then I'd be the one with cold toes, and you don't want that, right?" she asks, briefly failing to suppress her grin as she does. Her free hand shifts to Jessica's belly, thumb stroking idly back and forth across the fabric of her tanktop. Her head tilts a little and exaggerated puppy eyes follow. Kitty eyes?

Jessica shifts a bit in place, rolling onto her side and propping herself up on her elbow as she responds to Yan Sun's question with a flat look. "And you are thinking that I give a fuck?" she challenges, her own grin surfacing. "I take what I want, kitty cat." she reminds, her hand coming to rest on Yan Sun's hip.

Yan Sun 's hand shifts from Jessica's belly to her side as she turns, slipping beneath the tanktop to rest against bare skin instead. She also shifts from sitting up to propping herself up on her elbow much like Jessica. Her words cause her to have to fight hard to keep the pouty look instead of lapsing into another grin. It fails. "You're gonna steal my socks? Leave me freezing?" she questions, trying to put on a hurt look with limited

success. Her hair is still pretty drenched, water dripping onto the sleeping bag and a couple of strands sticking to her face.

Jessica lifts her hand from Yan Sun's hip, bringing it up to brush a few strands of hair from her face as she studies her features. "Mmm." she hums with a small, playful shrug. "I am thinking about it." she warns with a brief furrow of her brow as if considering the option, but her focus remains on Yan Sun's face. She lifts her leg slightly, bringing up a cold foot to run it along Yan Sun's lower leg as if to prove a point. Or just to

be annoying. Probably just to be annoying. "You see? I am needing them more than you."

Yan Sun squirms a little, her leg reflexively jerking back slightly. "Cold!" she complains, before realizing that she just supported Jessica's point. Her eyebrows furrow and she extends her arm upward, letting her head rest against it instead of propping her up. "Sucks to be you, because you're still not getting my socks." she asserts with a slight shake of her head, lazily studying Jessica as the arm she's resting against reaches out, index

finger extending to press her nose down like a button.

Jessica seems amused by Yan Sun's reaction, snickering softly to herself. That amusement quickly fades, however, when Yan Sun attempts to match her attempts at being annoying with some annoyance of her own. As her nose is pressed down on, she gives an almost comically dry raise of her brow, glaring at Yan Sun who- by this point- should certainly know better than to challenge Jessica. She gives a small sigh, studying Yan Sun for a moment

in silence before suddenly and without warning jolting forward to grab at her upper thigh with one hand and wrench her leg towards her, reaching down with the other hand to make an attempt at her sock. "I warn you! Yes?!" she taunts as she tries to wrestle the woman into a position to better pull her sock free.

Yan Sun , of course, has a bit of a habit of willfully ignoring her better judgement, and a snort of laughter accompanies Jessica's rising brow. The sudden pounce towards her sock that follows elicits a surprised shriek and a loud giggle as she quickly starts to struggle, squirming and kicking to try and keep Jessica from locking her down and stealing the precious, fluffy sock. "They're... mine...!" she exclaims amid her laughter. There's a

lightness to her mood, still riding high on the relief that accompanied the exchange in the truck despite the heaviness that preceded it. The relief of putting her feelings out there and knowing that Jessica knows, even if she hadn't meant to. Of realizing that she hasn't ruined what they have by doing so. Of the reaffirmation that Jessica offered of her own feelings. She didn't say that. But that doesn't matter. What she did

say, and what she's doing, is just as meaningful. Probably more so. Something that hasn't been lost on Yan Sun.

Next Logs

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Previous Logs

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