Yan Sun does her best to swallow the giggle that threatens to slip out as she gets a closer look at her handiwork, forcing her lips into an unamused line, but the corners of her mouth still give her away. Her left hand cups the side of Jessica's face, thumb on her chin as she turns her head a little to the right. With her other hand she starts to gently the dirt off of Jessica's cheek with a wet wipe.
#Traveler'sGorge – October 25, 2021
Jessica gives a small lift of her burned brow as she watches Yan Sun try to stifle her laughter. Her arms come forward, resting on the truck on either side of Yan Sun as she cleans up the mess she made. "You carry these with you in your pocket?" she asks, eyes darting towards the object in Yan Sun's hand as she attempts to hold still so no dirt is missed before teasing in a mutter, "You are like a grandmother."
Yan Sun rolls her eyes, deliberately getting a bit less gentle and a bit more obnoxious with the cleaning. "Uh-huh, right... I'm a grandmother for wanting to keep clean..." she replies, the approaching group still unnoticed with her focus entirely taken up by the woman in front of her.
Jessica scrunches up her nose, pulling a face of discomfort as Yan Sun's cleaning becomes less gentle. "No, you are-... Gah-..." she scoffs, leaning away from Yan Sun's hand briefly and shooting her a playful glare, "...are a grandmother because you are carrying them in your pocket." she clarifies, the logic seeming to check out to her. "It is gone?" she asks as she tilts her head back to look up at Yan Sun once more, eyes peering out
Yan Sun lowers her right hand, giving Jessica's face a brief visual inspection before nodding. "All cleaned up." she assures, using her left hand to angle her head upward a bit as she leans down for a quick kiss.
Jessica tilts her head this way and that as she's inspected. Her lips pull into a small grin as Yan Sun leans down, her good mood undampened despite the boot to the face or the massive hangover lingering. She presses her lips to Yan Sun's with an exaggerated, playful, 'mwah'. After the kiss, her grin remains as she peers up at Yan Sun, her arms shifting closer to Yan Sun. She gives a brief, mischievous tilt of her head, a telling
widening of her grin slipping out before her hands come to Yan Sun's hips and she pulls her right off the hood of the truck and into her arms, hands moving to Yan Sun's ass to catch her and hold her up against the side of the truck. Given the size of the truck it would've been a rather painful drop but, thankfully, Jessica isn't feeling quite so vindictive today. But she can't just let a boot to the face go unanswered. What
Yan Sun lets out a loud, surprised "Gah!" as she tugged right off the hood, hands scrambling too late to grab hold of the edge. As she slips into Jessica's arms and finds herself pinned against the truck she reflexively grabs a hold of her, arms holding tight and thighs clamping around Jessica's waist. She blinks, apparently startled into silence for a moment by the sudden relocation, gaze darting across Jessica's face, ending up settling on
Jessica lets out a loud, obnoxious cackle as she gets the desired reaction. She leans a little heavier against the truck to help carry some of the weight once she has a solid grip on Yan Sun, hands shifting to the backside of her upper thighs. "I should have let you fall." she muses through a big, smug grin, studying the woman in her arms through sunglasses that hide her eyes, far too distracted to catch sight of the group on the road
Yan Sun manages a token mutter of "Jerk..." once the initial surprise wears off, but she sounds more flustered than annoyed, and a smile starts to tug at the corner of her mouth. As the panicked tension leaves her body her legs wrap around Jessica and her arms relax a bit. She doesn't seem all that bothered to have ended up in Jessica's arms, even if her bruises from the previous day aren't too thrilled about the maneuver.
Jessica seems to take the insult as a point of pride, smug grin only widening. "Mmm." she hums in agreement. She affectionately caresses her nose along Yan Sun's before leaning in for a kiss, pressing her a bit harder against the truck as she does. It is, however, short lived as a voice sounds out from across the length of pounded flat dirt and soil and gravel that comprises the makeshift parking area, causing her to nearly drop Yan
Gaz cups her hands around her mouth. "Get a room!" she shouts, both her smile and her easily identifiable accent coloring her words.
Paige winces. "Please. Stop. Yelling..." she groans as she brings one hand up to her temple, shooting Gaz a sidelong look. She looks every bit the part of somebody who still hasn't quite outrun her hangover. And half a day of work down at the greenhouse- against Kirill's advice- only seems to have exacerbate the headache that's been chasing her around all morning.
Yan Sun returns the kiss, arms slipping further around Jessica, coming to rest on her shoulders and crossing behind her neck. The sudden, loud voice makes her pull back fast enough to hit the back of her head on the truck, a wince following as she looks around in startled confusion until her eyes land on Gaz and the others. Her left arm is clinging tightly to Jessica after the near-drop and her right, which had pulled back to rub the back of
Jessica snorts and gives a roll of her eyes from behind her- or, more accurately, Kirill's- sunglasses, though the smile never leaves her lips. She adjusts her grip on Yan Sun, feigning a few near drops just to spook her before gently lowering her so she can stand on her own and looking towards the group. She sucks in her lips, pushing down the feeling in her chest at seeing everyone going out of their way to see her off. A few whom she
already exchanged goodbyes with. "I did not think that I would have to see your ugly faces again." she teases. Truly touched.
Kirill offers an unceremonious dip of his head in greeting to Yan Sun, stepping right past the pair to get to the truck's bed. "How are ya feeling?" he asks Yan Sun as he lifts the tarp from the truck bed and swings his rucksack over the side. There's a slight twitch beneath his beard that implies a knowing smile is hiding somewhere under there.
Paige levels an unamused look Jessica's way while the others snicker at her barbed words. "Not letting you off that easy." she teases back, though there's not much energy behind her words, sapped by a night of recklessly boozing it up.
Yan Sun refinds her footing upon being lowered with her usual lack of grace. She remains right by the truck, hands burrowing into the pockets of her jacket when no longer touching Jessica. Her attention is turned to Kirill as he loads his bag onto the truck. "Kinda aching all over, but other than that? Pretty good now." she answers with a roll of her shoulders. The morning's stomach troubles don't seem to be making a return, thankfully. Just
Kirill offers a small nod as he secures the tarp once more. "Good to hear because we've got plenty of road ahead of us tonight." he says before correcting himself with a sharp look Yan Sun's way. "Plenty of bumpy road ahead of us. Wouldn't want last night... complicatin' matters." Kirill translation: Please try not to puke all over the inside of my truck. Try as he might to be sympathetic, he can't help but feel the slightest bit of smug
Glen is quick to step towards the pair, large tupperware container held in both hands, a paper bag balanced atop. Through the sides of the clear container Yan Sun would surely be able to recognize the thick, brownish stew that's sloshing around inside. The meal that didn't taste all that much worse coming up as it did going down. "Which is why..." he starts, as if picking up the end of Kirill's sentence, "...I made sure to pack you folks
something for the road. Can't conquer the open road on an empty stomach, after all." The gesture gets a few eyes on Yan Sun, barely restrained smiles amongst those who were there when the stew made a sudden reappearance all over Jessica's boots. Thankfully none of them speak up, though whether due to wanting to spare Yan Sun the embarrassment or spare Glen's feelings is anyone's guess.
Jessica is quick to intercept the tupperware container before Glen can try to hand it off to Yan Sun, an expression of genuine excitement on display as she flicks open the paper bag with one hand and presses her face to the opening to take a big ol' whiff of whatever's inside. She lets out a pleased "Mmm." as her eyes drift closed.
Yan Sun lets out an awkward snicker, scratching her neck. "Don't worry, I'm okay." she assures, although she looks like she may have spoken too soon as her eyes fall on the container in Glen's hands, lips turning thin and one hand hovering near her mouth briefly, although she plays it off as if she's just rubbing her cheek, forcing a smile into place. "Thanks..." she manages, the word a bit stilted, coming through gritted teeth.
The group loiters around the truck for what must be a solid half an hour or so. There's plenty of joking around but, also, thinly veiled urges for Jessica and Yan Sun to keep in touch. Everyone shares their contact info. Jessica even takes a few group pictures, though Paige has to push her to actually appear in said pictures rather than just remaining on the other side of her omni-tool. Everyone- aside from Kirill and Glen- seems a little worn
out from the previous night, though nobody is quite as bad off as Paige. But, despite being tired and hungover, everyone seems to be in rather good spirits. Even Jessica's mood holds out. And it's not until Kirill reluctantly puts a cap on things with a mention of 'burning daylight' that there seems to be the slightest sign of heaviness on Jessica's shoulders. He had long since finished going over their supplies and making sure everything was
Caelus and Glen are the first to say their goodbyes as Kirill watches, leaned up against the driver's side door. The turian and Jessica have their digs at one another, but hugs cap the exchange off. Even Yan Sun is roped into hugs by the mostly-strangers.
Gaz steps up to the pair, that kind smile of hers spread across her face. Aside from Paige and Jessica, she mostly matches the others the previous night as far as drinking was concerned. But she seems to wear it a bit better than the rest of them. Still bright and upbeat as ever. A large, dark orange ornate scarf lays overtop the collar of her red winter jacket. Leaning to the side briefly, she digs through one of her pockets before
producing a pair of bracelets. The ones she was working on the previous night. Each consists of small, natural stones, threaded together by tiny rings. A small length of thin chain and a simple clasp at each end allows them to be closed. One consists of vibrant blue stones that, while not a perfect match, resembles the color of Yan Sun's hair enough to show that care and thought was put into the color choice. Small specks of other
natural colors peek throughout the stones. The other bracelet is black, resembling onyx with the way different shades of grey marble throughout it. She studies them in the palm of her hand for a moment before taking the blue one in her other hand and extending it out towards Yan Sun. "They are nothing special." she explains, that heavy accent of hers coating each word. "But, it would mean a lot to me if you would accept these."
Jessica's attention turns to Gaz' hand. It seems to take her a moment to realize that one of them is for her, a complicated look entering her expression. Her gaze travels from Gaz' hand to her face, as if trying to see if she's sure about this.
Yan Sun seems in no rush to go, seeing Jessica interact with her friends keeping a smile on her face. She's quick to assure they'll keep in touch. It sounds like she'll make sure of it even if Jessica doesn't. She takes the hugs in stride - it's easy with such a welcoming group, and being important to Jessica makes them important to her. When Gaz extends the bracelets that she saw her working on earlier a wide smile crosses her lips.
"They're awesome." she corrects, already reaching out for the blue one. It seems she has none of Jessica's hesitation, and she holds the bracelet up after grabbing it, turning it and studying the stones. "Thank you. Really." It's not really the kind of thing she'd pick out for herself, and it'd be easy to find similar trinkets for a few credits on Earth, spat out of a commercial fabricator. But the fact that it was handmade,
specifically for her has her touched. It seems like a perfect memento of the Gorge, encapsulating its nature, so far from what she's used to.
Gaz' smile turns a bit sheepish at Yan Sun's praise, a small snicker slipping out. "You are very welcome, Yan Sun." she assures with a respectful tilt of her head, her pronunciation of her new acquaintance's name sharp. Turning her focus to Jessica, she has to prop her smile back up when it gets a bit heavier in the face of the scarred woman's apprehension and she offers a few small, encouraging nods. "I... know that it is not the sort of
thing that you will wear. But, you will be traveling a long way from here soon. It makes me happy to think that you will have a piece of home with you." At first it seems as though she'll leave it at that, extending her hand, bracelet draped across the palm, towards Jessica. But before Jessica can take it, she continues, face briefly contorting into an expression of discomfort. "You were there for me during some of my most difficult
times, Jessica." she says, speaking slowly, trying to find the words as she goes. "I... only hope that maybe this will remind you, when times get difficult, that you have people who are here for you as well. All you have to do is call."
Jessica's gaze remains fixed to the object in Gaz' hand as she speaks. There's that word again. 'Home'. A place that she tried so hard to convince herself burned down. But it's hard not to feel the sincerity in her old friend's words. She swallows at the lump swelling in her throat as she reaches out, only pausing once Gaz starts to speak again. It causes her to focus on the woman's face. She doesn't say anything, merely blinking away
at the emotion that threatens to rear its ugly head up before offering a number of small nods as she scoops the bracelet up in her hand and pulls the much smaller woman into a hug.
Paige lets out a soft sniffle, emotions already sneaking up on her as she steps up to the group, arms folded across herself to fight back the cold. "Promise you'll look after her for us?" she asks Yan Sun through already-glassy eyes, attempting to keep her smile from slipping away.
Yan Sun slips her bracelet on as she listens to Gaz' words to Jessica. They make her smile turn soft, and the last few additions make her attention turn to Jessica, studying the side of her face with a bit of surprise in her own. Witnessing the hug makes her suck in her lips, and she finds herself blinking back hints of wetness in her eyes. When Paige draws her attention she swallows back her emotions and nods. "I promise." she says with
Gaz wraps her arms around Jessica, giving her a tight squeeze, holding her for a moment before stepping back and offering another respectful tilt of her head, one hand clasping overtop the other as she stands by.
Jessica sniffs at the air as Gaz steps back, her attention immediately shifting to Paige. She draws in a deep, heavy breath, sucking in her lips. "Come on, bitch." she says, extending her arms to her sides a little in a playfully reluctant offer for a hug.
Paige gives a sharp nod to Yan Sun's words. "I'm gonna hold you to that." she says, a hint of a playful threat in her tone. Her smile slips away at Jessica's offer, emotions finally catching her as she blinks out a few tears. She certainly has complicated feelings surrounding everything that has transpired. Her and Jessica have history together. Important history. Jessica is someone that she once considered her closest friend. And yet
she's also the person that abandoned her without- it had seemed- a second thought. There's that part of her, deep down, that really wanted to shout at her upon seeing her again. Scream at her. But then what? This was a chance to spend one last day with her friend. Get the goodbye that Jessica robbed everyone of the first time she left. So, stubborn as Paige can be at times, she pushed those thoughts down- shoved aside all of the hurt
associated with the abandonment she felt that morning she woke up and Jessica was nowhere to be found- and spent one last night with her best friend. And now it's time to say goodbye. "Asshole." she offers affectionately in turn as she steps over and wraps her arms tightly around Jessica, her head tilting downward to press her forehead into the other woman's shoulder. "You're still my best friend, Jessica. No amount of distance will
change that, okay?" she offers, her breathing getting a little ragged as she speaks, the implied forgiveness going unsaid.
Jessica's arms slip under Paige's, hands gripping the backside of her shoulders as she squeezes her tightly. "Whore." she's quick to retort, her own emotions already creeping into her tone. Paige's tearful words cause her to press her head against her old friend's before turning her head to press a kiss against Paige's tuque, nodding silently.
Paige doesn't seem ready to let go, the seconds dragging on, until finally, with a deep sniffle, she shifts in place. She doesn't quite let go, instead merely turning and letting go with one arm, the other slipping around Jessica' lower back in a sort of half-hug as she leans against the larger woman.
Jessica is quick to bring her freed hand up to her face as Paige shifts, wiping at the wetness under her eye. Her other arm remains loosely draped around Paige. She passes a quick glance about the others before resting her focus on Rafe. Last one standing. His lingering presence seems to cause it to sink in that it's time to go and she draws in a deep breath. "You are ready to go?" she asks, giving a slow dip of her head in the
Rafe props up a heavy smile, following her gesture towards the truck briefly. His gaze dips towards the ground and stuffs one of his hands into the pocket of his jacket. "I'm-... uhh-... I'm not coming." he says as he seems to realize that it was expected. He gives a small, apologetic tilt of his head as he meets Jessica's gaze again. "Just-... got too much stuff that needs done around here." he explains softly, cocking a thumb back over his
shoulder towards the rest of the compound. "Besides. It'd be a pretty cramped ride." he adds in an attempt at adding a little bit of levity to the situation.
Yan Sun looks on in quiet fascination at the unprecedented display of affection from Jessica. The emotions being brought into the open are enough to make a few tears slip out despite her attempts to blink them back, and she reaches up to wipe them away, waiting silently for Jessica to say her goodbyes. As the focus turns to Rafe her gaze avoids him, falling to the ground near his feet, but his words make her shoot a glance at Jessica.
Jessica's brows furrow, expression shifting as she tries to restrain any lingering emotion, nodding at Rafe's revelation. She had just assumed he would be joining them. He was always there. Her, him, and Kirill, stuffed into that cramped truck for days at a time. "It was always cramped." she explains, adjusting the arm that's draped around Paige. "This was never a problem before." There's an unimplied offer there. That his presence
Rafe seems to pick up on the offer, his heavy smile turning a shade brighter and a snicker slipping out as Jessica recalls their old trips. He nods a few more times. "It was." he agrees. "But I-... uhh-... think it's better if I sit this one out." For so many reasons.
Jessica's gaze remains fixed on Rafe. "Mmm. Your girlfriend would not like it." she acknowledges through a heavy grin, perhaps giving away the fact that she wasn't exactly buying his comment back at the club. She certainly hasn't seen any signs of a girlfriend since her arrival, at the very least.
Kirill shifts in place as Jessica calls out Rafe's lie. A lie he backed up. At the time it seemed like a good idea. It was just easier for everyone. He hadn't expected Jessica to show up here.
Rafe snorts, offering a small shrug of his shoulders as if to say, 'Ya got me'. When he went on that trip with Kirill, it was with hope that he would be able to get the closure he felt he deserved. He hadn't expected Jessica to come stomping up with her new significant other beside her. So he lied. To hide that fact that maybe he hadn't moved on quite as much as he'd like to admit. To hide the fact that when he first got into that truck with
Kirill heading to Freedom Falls, somewhere deep down he thought that Jessica might have come home with them. But, more than anything, because Yan Sun didn't deserve to be caught in the middle of all that. But it's not a lie he cares to protect. He saw the way Yan Sun and Jessica were last night. How close they seem to be. Painful as it might be- and painful it is- he's no threat to their relationship. And part of him is happy about
that. Happy that Jessica found someone that makes her happy. But, the fact that it's not him is still a hard pill to swallow. With a deep sigh, he steps over to Jessica and Paige, one hand moving to the former's shoulder as he takes a good look at her. Leaning forward, he presses a small kiss against the top of Jessica's head. Just a peck, careful not to linger. Disrespecting Yan Sun is the last thing he'd want to do.
Jessica's grin falls away as Rafe avoids any playful bickering that may have made this goodbye easier. "You are sure that you are not wanting to come...?" she asks directly this time as she looks up at him. "This might be the last time you see me..." she dangles out there.
Rafe's smile briefly widens at Jessica's words. "Isn't the first 'last time' I've seen you. I don't believe it'll be the last 'last time' I see you." he offers softly. He holds her gaze for a moment longer before offering a quiet, "Take care of yourself, Jessie." He passes a small glance Yan Sun's way. There's a brief pause, as if unsure of what the proper etiquette is in a situation like this. Yan Sun has been nothing but kind to him.
Certainly undeserving of any of his ire. She's personable and didn't go out of her way to make him feel unwelcome last night, despite his intimate past with her girlfriend. But, somehow, a hug feels like too much. So, instead, he merely offers her a small dip of his head and a friendly- if sad- smile before shoving his hand back into his pocket and stepping off in the direction of Caelus, Gaz, and Glen.
Yan Sun just watches in silence as Rafe too says his goodbye to Jessica. There's no sign of disapproval or concern from her. Not over that. Just a restrained sadness. Rafe seems like a good guy, and it's hard not to pick up on his hurt. When he looks her way she too seems a little unsure, but she returns his gesture, her own smile a little awkward, but amiable.
Kirill draws in a breath, a look passing between him and Rafe. "Guess it's that time." he offers quietly in an attempt at get things rolling without being too intrusive. Looking between Jessica and Yan Sun, he gives a small tilt of his head to the truck before tugging the driver's side door open. He seems to have no intention of rushing the others as he climbs into the driver's seat. He pulls a photograph from his pocket- the same one he
removed from the truck before handing it over to Jessica and Yan Sun- and looks it over for a moment. A small smile tugs at the corner of his mouth before he attaches it to the dashboard once more.
Paige's gaze is fixed to the ground during Jessica and Rafe's exchange, gentle frown etched into her features. It's not until Kirill speaks up again that she gives Jessica one more hard squeeze before wiping at her eyes and, reluctantly, letting go.
Jessica sucks in her lips, looking briefly as if she has more to say. As if there's something she could say that might convince him to come with for one last trip. But as he says his final words to her, she seems to accept that this is it. Blinking out a few more tears, she gives a small nod of her head, sniffing at the cold. "You, too..." she says, her words quieter than intended as she watches him walk away. She remains as she is at
for a moment, one arm remaining around Paige. It's not until Kirill speaks up and Paige tightens her grip that Jessica stirs again and brings one hand up to her face to wipe at her eyes. "Okay..." she utters softly, drawing in a heavy breath before giving Paige one last quick squeeze and letting go. "Come on, slut." she sighs, the smile she forces looking heavy as she steps towards Yan Sun and drapes an arm over her shoulder to
Yan Sun casts a brief glance towards Paige before following along with Jessica. She reaches up for the hand on her shoulder, grasping it and stroking her thumb gently back and forth across the knuckles as they walk, eyeing the heavy emotions on Jessica's face out of the corner of her eye.
Jessica returns the small gesture, giving Yan Sun's hand a small squeeze. Try as she might to play off the emotion bubbling up in her chest, there's no hiding the tears that silently run down her face. She passes a glance back towards the others once she and Yan Sun round the truck, lifting her free hand to wave to them from the other side of the truck, careful to meet each of their gazes before climbing in.
Yan Sun offers a small, brief wave of her own before climbing in after Jessica and closing the heavy door behind her with a quiet grunt of effort. As soon as she's settled in she reaches for Jessica's hand again, giving it a squeeze, just to remind her that she's there. That Jessica isn't alone, and isn't going to be.
The doors close with a heavy thud, locking them off from the cold outside. Once the truck roars to life, she finds herself waving through the windows with her free hand. Gaz, Caelus, Glen, and Paige all lift their arms, giving exaggerated waves to ensure that they're seen. Paige's tears only seem to get worse as the truck begins to pull away, but she keeps her arm up. They follow the truck out towards the road, arms waving back and forth, high
in the air. Even Rafe eventually joins in, reluctant as he may be to say goodbye, as the group slowly shrinks in the rearview mirrors. Kirill is careful to slow down as they begin to pass the prefabs, especially once Will- who was exiting the mess hall with his mother- catches sight of the truck and begins running alongside it, arm wildly flailing in what can only be an attempt at waving. A muffled shout of "Bye, Jessica! Bye Yonson!" can be
heard through the truck's thick glass. Jessica finds herself caught between a mixture of laughter and heavy emotion, an occasional sob slipping out despite her best effort at keeping her emotions under control as she leans across Yan Sun to return the young boy's waves. But the truck eventually pulls away from Will. Away from the structures and prefabs that once provided Jessica a comfort during a time when she felt like she had lost
everything. Away from the walls that provided safety and warmth. Away from the people that loved her. The truck cabin falls quiet as she finds herself staring into the rearview mirror, tears quietly streaming down her cheeks as her stomach ties itself into knots. Her hand never leaves Yan Sun's, fingers interlocked as she watches her home disappear behind them.