Jean-Luc is dressed as he was earlier, beat up and faded jeans. Equally rough-looking old work boots. The bottom of a lazily half-tucked long-sleeved shirt drapes out partially from beneath his winter jacket. One hand is gripped around the neck of a hefty, label-less bottle. Slung from his opposite shoulder is a small canvas bag. Yan Sun's accusation gives him pause, a vaguely confused expression crossing his face as his eyes settle on Yan
#Traveler'sGorge – July 21, 2021
Jessica pulls her leg to the side in a needless effort to avoid spilled beer, shooting a disapproving look Yan Sun's way briefly before meeting Jean-Luc's confusion with a shrug of her shoulders. "She scares very easily." she explains gravely, which gets a few snickers.
Jean-Luc gives Jessica a small dip of his head. "My apologies." he offers Yan Sun with an exaggerated sense of sincerity through a grin.
Yan Sun shoots Jessica an unamused glare. "No I don't." she protests before turning back to the fire with an embarrassed huff and taking a long swig from her beer.
Jessica gives a small lift of her brow as Yan Sun protests, expression emblazoned with the very essence of 'Uh huh, suuuure.' as she nods in hollow appeasement before looking right back to Jean-Luc. "Mmm. She is a coward." she confirms with another nod before giving Yan Sun an annoying prod with her elbow and leveling an equally annoying grin on her before taking a pointed sip of her beer.
Paige seems to perk up a bit as she catches sight of Jean-Luc, smile tugging at her features as the others all offer brief greetings. "Oh! Hey, Luke!" she calls out, quickly running a hand through her hair. "I-... uhh-... didn't know you were gonna be here tonight!" she says, as if it's a surprise to her.
Jean-Luc snorts, continuing his journey towards the group. The golden brown liquid in the bottle probably gives away the fact that it's alcohol of some sort as it catches the fire's light. He opens his mouth to respond to Paige but she cuts him off before he can speak.
Paige hops out of her chair, eyes widening briefly. "Oh! Chair!" she exclaims. "Let me get you a chair!" she says, glancing this way and that briefly before darting over towards the table to collect Glen's abandoned chair and set it up near the fire, between Thomas and the log bench.
Jean-Luc furrows his brows, snickering softly. "Uhh... thanks..." he offers, shrugging his bag a little higher on his shoulder. "Jess asked me to come." he explains as he waits for said chair, passing a few glances around to the others. It doesn't seem as if he participates in these gatherings very often.
Yan Sun grumbles, ignoring Jessica's prodding and turning her attention to Paige as she shoots out of her seat to set things up for Jean-Luc. Amused confusion crosses her face as she observes her rushing around, and she shoots Jessica a meaningful, questioning look.
Amy joins the chorus of greetings for Jean-Luc, hers probably the quietest of the lot. As Paige leaves her seat in a hurry she blinks, pulling her legs in a bit to keep from tripping her, gaze following her as she goes for the spare chair, before turning to the new arrival.
Jessica merely shrugs in response to Yan Sun's look, though the amused grin that remains on her face as she watches Paige run around implies there's probably more to it.
Paige retakes seat, glancing between Jean-Luc and Yan Sun. "Luke. Yan Sun. Yan Sun? Luke." she introduces.
Jean-Luc drops into the presented chair, setting his bottle and bag on the ground beside it. Paige's introduction garners an appreciative glance her way. "We met earlier." he explains.
Paige nods to herself. "Right." she hums. "Luke here is one of our hunters." she explains matter-of-factly as she peers across the fire to Yan Sun.
Jean-Luc gives a nod in turn to confirm Paige's assessment to Yan Sun, gaining a brief sheepish look as the attention is put on him. But his focus quickly turns to the person across the fire as he settles into his chair. "Amy, right?" he asks as he peers towards the fresh face that he's seen around the Gorge these past couple weeks, but has yet to really interact with.
Yan Sun nods in confirmation of Jean-Luc's words, still seeming a little amused. The additional information on his occupation garners another nod just to show that she's listening, but as his attention turns to the quiet girl that was unfamiliar to Jessica she remains silent.
Amy has been observing silently, and looks a little surprised when Jean-Luc's attention turns to her, her recent arrival brought into focus once more. Her initial response is just couple of nods.
Jean-Luc gives a dip of his head. "Jean-Luc." he offers, a friendly- if restrained- smile accompanying. "Welcome to the Gorge."
Paige looks between the two, the fact that this is their first time interacting only just now occurring to her. "Oh! I didn't realize the two of you hadn't met yet!" she exclaims, as if she's failed at her unofficial role of Manager of Introductions.
Amy offers a small, polite smile. "Thanks. I... I wasn't sure." she admits with an awkward chuckle. "There's so many people here. It's a little hard to keep track."
Jessica interjects, looking to Jean-Luc. "You bring something for cutting off your hair, yes?" she asks, which garners a curious look from a few of the others.
Jean-Luc turns his attention to Jessica with a playful scoff before leaning over to give his canvas bag a quick pat.
Paige shoots a confused look between the pair. "Wait, wait, wait-... Wha-..." she stammers, clearly not finding this to be a good idea. "Cut off your hair?!"
The argument over the fate of Jean-Luc's hair transpires for far longer than it has any right to and Jean-Luc is, ironically, mostly left out of it. But it's mostly just friendly bickering between Jessica and Paige. The booze continues to flow and Jean-Luc shares some of the snacks he brought with him. Nothing fancy. Just a few bags of chips. Jessica has a second helping of stew. For whatever god forsaken reason, she seems to genuinely enjoy
it. More stories are shared, and Jean-Luc seems to slip into the group dynamic rather effortlessly. He, like the others, is a friendly sort. Easy to talk to. And, as much as she (poorly) tries to hide it, Paige has a clear fascination with him. The outpost might be quiet at this hour, but it never seems to truly sleep. A changing of guards at the front gate. A single, heavy-duty truck passing through the Gorge, on their way to more important
things. There's always some sign of life. Given Jean-Luc's role in their small community that requires him to venture out, the conversation naturally shifts to some of the nearby settlements and recent interactions. It's mostly Jean-Luc, Kirill, and Rafe trading stories, with Thomas briefly abandoning the campfire to join Gaz at the table. Jessica pitches into the conversation when she can, having spent plenty of time on the road in that
hulking behemoth of a truck during her time her, but she seems mostly content to snack on a bag of chips that she (reluctantly) shares with Yan Sun as she listens to more current events in the Gorge's tiny bubble of existence. A bubble that she's no longer a part of. But she doesn't seem sad about that. Not tonight. For the first time since she and Yan Sun met, she's somewhere she belongs. Somewhere she's welcomed.
Yan Sun finds herself drinking and laughing as the debate over Jean-Luc's hair goes on. The chips are a very welcome addition, offering salvation from the prospect of having to eat any more stew to sate her hunger, and she fights to eat her share of her and Jessica's bag. Yan Sun is content with listening to the others talk for the most part, mostly chiming in with a question or comment here and there - she's always interested in learning
more about life out here on Aite, and more importantly, she's just happy that things are going well for the sake of the woman that she's leaning a little against as she watches the fire.
Amy went very, very quiet when Jessica and Paige started arguing about Jean-Luc's hair, and she ended up excusing herself to go to the bathroom not long after the subject changed, but as the fireside conversation goes on she still hasn't made her return.
Paige listens mostly in silence as Jean-Luc recounts a story about his most recent trip. Apparently they were put up for a couple of nights at a nearby homestead. Old friends, from the sound of things, with a bit of history between them and the Gorge, judging by Kirill's vested interest. There's a bit more red in her cheeks, compliments of the alcohol. She may not have been quite keeping up with Jessica, but she's put a few down herself.
Kirill has, as usual, kept it slow with the booze. He's casted a few casual glance back down the road since Amy's disappearance, but hasn't said anything yet. "...So he's recoverin' well, then?" he asks.
Jean-Luc gives a few nods as he chews on some chips. "Mmhmm. Terthus said he tried to get him to take it easy, but his dad was having any of it." he snickers.
Caelus chuckles, offering a shake of his head. "Korsix is one tough bastard. Gonna take more than a poke to keep him down." he says, which garners a few more chuckles from the others who seem to be familiar, Jessica included.
Paige shifts a bit in her seat, also having taken notice of Amy's long absence. She casts an almost apologetic look about- lingering on their guest, Yan Sun- as she rises from her seat, collecting her tuque from the armrest cupholder of her chair and replacing it with her beer as she does. "I'm just gonna-..." she gestures down the road with a dip of her head, which gets a nod from Kirill in turn who seems to realize her intention. He was
just about to do the same if she hadn't beat him to the punch. "...I'll be right back." The others offer brief nods in acknowledgement to her excusing herself.
Jessica is holding her beer between her legs, one hand on Yan Sun's thigh. She gives a raise of her brow as she looks up at Paige. "Hurry up or you are going to be missing the hair cutting!" she warns.
Yan Sun offers a little wiggle-wave as Paige leaves, Jessica's comment making her let out a snort of laughter before crunching down on another chip.
Paige snorts in turn and gives an eyeroll as she slips away from the fire. "Good!" she exclaims as she starts down the dirt road, heading for the restrooms.
Jean-Luc's smile fades into a deep sigh when Jessica speaks up. "I guess that means it's time...?" he asks with an overly dramatic flair to his tone.
Jean-Luc draws in a deep breath, as if to steel himself. "Alright..." he says softly, moreso to himself than to Jessica. The theatrics garner a few snickers out of the others. "I... think that I need a drink first." he says. Up until now, he's been drinking the same beer as the rest of them. But he ignores the beer in his chair's holder, instead opting to lean down and collect the bottle he brought with him. He studies the fire through the
golden-brown liquid in the bottle. "Picked this up a while back. Been saving it for a special occasion." he says, the cap's seal breaking with a satisfying CRACK as he twists it off.
Rafe's expression softens as he watches Jean-Luc. "Suppose tonight meets the requirements, huh...?" he asks quietly, passing a brief glance Jessica's way.
Jean-Luc nods a few times. "What occasion is more special than saying goodbye to a dear, old friend? Ah?" he asks, small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth before he tilts the bottle back and takes a healthy swig, eyes immediately snapping shut. He brings the back of his hand up to his mouth as soon as he pulls the bottle away to try and fight back the cough that threatens to slip out.
Jessica's gaze bounces off of Rafe, avoiding his eyes when he looks her way. "Mmm. Is very touching." she grumbles flatly, though she's unable to suppress the smile that hides beneath.
Jean-Luc gives a shake of his head as he leans over in his seat, extending the bottle past Caelus towards Jessica. "I wasn't talking about you." he teases, running his free hand through his precious hair.
Caelus gives a small lift of his thermos as the bottle is passed by him and takes a healthy gulp from it, as if to not be left out.
Jessica snorts loudly, rolling her eye as she snatches the bottle from Jean-Luc's hand. She keeps her eyes on him as she, too, takes a big gulp from the bottle. But it doesn't seem to go down quite as smoothly as she expected and she nearly immediately passes the bottle on to Yan Sun, hunching forward as she licks at the roof of her mouth ineffectually while the burn coats her throat. "Gwah!"
Yan Sun laughs at Jean-Luc and Jessica's silliness, although the grin on her face falters a bit as the bottle is passed her way - especially given Jessica's reaction. "Oookay..." she mumbles with a faint laugh. She eyes the bottle skeptically, hesitating for a couple of moments before a look of resolve takes over as she hypes herself up and takes a swig. She's no coward, dammit! If this mystery drink is the end of her, so be it.
Contrary to Jessica's reaction, the drink isn't so bad! A bit bitter. Very strong. But... Nope! It's bad! The burn hits like a ton of bricks as soon as it's swallowed. Like a shot of paint thinner.
Jessica blinks a couple of times, still hunched forward, head tilted ever-so-slightly just so she can participate in the misery of the woman at her side.
Jean-Luc remains still, back of his hand still pressed against his mouth, almost as if trying to make sure he's not going to puke. There's already a few snickers from the others in the peanut gallery.
Yan Sun lets out a loud "Kwhhh!" as she reflexively tries to spit even though she's already swallowed the horrible drink. She runs her free hand up her her throat and over her mouth, the other pressing the bottle against the bench, some part of her mind doing its best not to drop it while the rest of her is distracted by the burn. "Vvwh-... bh!" Bared teeth and wheezing, her face contorted in a grimace. "Ghthat's-..." A few coughs, and
then her expression changes, furrowed eyebrows staring at an arbitrary patch of ground, a muffled whine sounding as it starts to become clear that the cursed liquid is not getting along with the stew that she reluctantly forced down earlier. Just stay still and maybe it will pass. Just don't move a muscle. Yeah. Her focused grimace changes to panic, and then something almost apologetic, a split-second before she throws up on
Jessica is still watching through a grimace when laughter begins to spill out of her at the noises Yan Sun is making, which only increases in volume as Yan Sun's struggle continues. It's not long before the others are laughing as much at Jessica's uncontrollable laughter as at the ridiculous noises escaping Yan Sun. Even Jean-Luc is laughing through the back of his hand. But then, all at once, there's only gasped silence outside of the
shriek that escapes Thomas. Jessica studies her boot in horror, then slowly looks to Yan Sun. "You-..." she manages, just before her shoulders begin to rattle with laughter once more, "...biiiitch! You-... puke on my foot!" she spits out as she struggles to breathe, laughing too hard to properly display her rage.
Jean-Luc tightly closes his eyes as Yan Sun hurls, a burp getting caught in his throat as he struggles to avoid following suit.
Rafe merely stares, wide-eyed, but Jessica's continued laughter causes him to have to bring a hand up to his mouth to hide his dumb smile.
Kirill isn't a whole lot more useful than Rafe, merely shooting forward in his seat as Yan Sun loses her dinner. It looks like he knows he should probably do... something? But what can ya do? "You alright...?" he finally asks Yan Sun, shooting a stern look Jessica's way.
Jessica brings a hand up, palm out towards Kirill as he gives her the side-eye, the expression on his face only serving to draw out more painful laughter from her. She tries to force her gaze downward, but that only serves to force her into looking at the vomit spewed across her boot, causing her to gag on her laughter.
Gaz stares, lips parted in a ring of shock. But she seems to be the first to snap out of it, quickly jumping out of her seat and grabbing a roll of paper towels from the table and tearing a few off while hurrying over to Yan Sun's side. "It is not funny!" she insists, leveling a scowl at Jessica that's undercut by the smile the continued laughter draws out of her, which only causes her to try and scowl harder at Jessica, contorting her face
Paige glances back over her shoulder in confusion at the sudden, much-too-loud laughter behind her. It's not hard to tell who it is, and she merely rolls her eyes to herself. Great. Can't wait for tomorrow's complaints! She mutters something under her breath and picks up her pace towards the restrooms.
Yan Sun remains hunched forward as Jessica laughs herself to death next to her, staying still as she tries to make sure there's no more coming. The stew is definitely no better coming up than going down. It looks about the same though. Her face is frozen in a disgusted grimace, and Kirill's words go unanswered. It's only when Gaz offers her some paper towels that she moves, right hand leaving the bottle standing on the bench and pulling
her hair back as she accepts the offer. There's a faint noise that might've been a thanks before she wipes her mouth, looking a little miserable.
Jessica's laughter devolves into a coughing fit and she hunches forward, one hand moving to the beer between her legs to keep it from spilling and the other shooting across her stomach, abdominal muscles already sore from the laughter. "My-... my boot!" she manages, extending her foot outward a bit and rolling her ankle to indicate it. "You are cleaning my boot-.... yes...?" she chokes out.
Kirill glances to Gaz before finally snapping out of his surprise and climbing out of his seat. "You just-... one second. I'll get ya a bottle of water." he gestures for Yan Sun to stay put as he starts towards the tent, shooting another look Jessica's way.
Gaz scoffs at Jessica. "Clean your own boot!" she says, tearing off a few more paper towels and shoving them at Jessica.
Jean-Luc takes a few more seconds to make sure there's no puke chain reaction. Once he's sure he's not about to erupt like a volcano, he lets out a deep breath, eyes peeling open. "I'm sorry-..." he offers in a mutter, "...I didn't know it would be so awful..." he explains.
Rafe slowly moves his hand from his mouth, looking between the others. "If it's all the same to the rest of you? I... think I'm gonna pass on whatever the fuck that is." he says, shooting a pointed look towards the bottle which gets a chuckle out of Jean-Luc.
Jessica's eye is tearing up, another bout of snorted laughter escaping her as Gaz shoves a wad of paper towels at her and she lifts her arm to take lazily swipe them out of Gaz' hand. "Pusssssssssy!" she chants Rafe's way.
Yan Sun continues to ignore Jessica as she cleans herself up, although it's hard not to smile at her near-unstoppable laughter. As it turns into coughing and Kirill heads off she offers him a silent, thankful nod. Jean-Luc's words draw a surprised snort of laughter from her, which she immediately regrets. "Ghhit'sinmynose..." she whines with a fresh grimace, bringing a hand up to her face while hoping that water is coming soon. Jessica's
renewed laughter, and the shout that follows makes her blindly reach over to press a palm against her face and give it a light shove. "Shut up, Jessica." she mutters, sounding a bit wrung out, before turning her attention to Rafe to offer a somber warning of "Don't drink it. It's awful." that immediately devolves into a laugh.