Just north of the US-Mexico border
29th March 2009

"Fucking funny, man," she retorted, heading for the jeep. She threw her pack in the back and went to open the large garage door. "Come on out." She motioned to Daniel to drive his vehicle forward, as he passed, she climbed onboard.

Getting behind the wheel, Daniel put the vehicle into gear and allowed it to slowly crawl forward so that she could come on board. Once she had settled into the seat next to him, Daniel headed back towards the I 5 with Mick and Noah following behind them, their headlights keeping watch on them through the rear view mirror. Keeping his eyes on the road, they had turned onto the highway when he asked.

"What's Stevie short for?" he inquired.

Wow, that must have been burning his tongue, Stevie realised. "Stevens." She looked at him, purposefully being pedantic even if she guessed he had been asking for her real first name.

The wind was blowing through her hair and Daniel chanced another glimpse her direction, admiring the sway of dark hair against the moonlight. It was a warm night and there was no need to put up the jeep's canopy yet. "Strange name for a girl," he said, guessing she was having some fun at his expense.

She grinned, glancing his way. "Mia," she said simply, giving him that at least. She let her gaze sweep the open expanse of desert to their right. It all looked so normal like that - if you ignored all the abandoned cars along the highway.

"Mia." He almost smiled. "That's... pretty." It was and it suited her. He even thought he liked it more than Stevie. "Which do you prefer?" he asked after a moment.

"Stevie," she replied quickly and then shrugged. "It's complicated." Was it? She ran a hand over her face before pinching the bridge of her nose. "Mia... it was like for another life." Only her parents had carried on calling her that after she'd moved east. "You can call me either," she let out after a moment. It looked like her life had taken yet another direction anyway.

"If you don't mind..." He gave her a little smile. "I kind of like Mia." It was reminiscent of something he might have heard his mother say. "I think everyone is getting a chance at a fresh start," he said, fixing his eye on the road again. "A friend of mine, called it a do over. He was a big baseball fan," Daniel added.

"Well, not really while we're being hunted like game..." That was a really weird way of seeing things but then this priest seemed to be optimism incarnate. Her eyes went to the side mirror, the sight reassuring her the van was still following. "Mia's fine." Somehow she had figured out he would prefer it... "It's not like I'll be leading the rock n' roll life much anymore now anyway." Stevie had been a better name for that.

"I meant to say sorry about Mick earlier. He's..." Touchy wasn't quite the word. Ready to go off was more like it.

"Understandable." Daniel shrugged. "Considering the circumstances. Besides, vigilance is also a virtue."

He thought about what she said about being hunted like game and added, "I think he meant a do over in the sense that we're all in the same boat now. The Visitors aren't discriminating who they choose; we're all food for them." He remembered when they had first come and while some of his fellow Jesuits might this is a divine retribution, he had seen too many warlords in Africa to know better. This was one race preying on another. He didn't bother to argue the theology of it. There was none. It was all down to the food chain, which humans were no longer on top of.

"I'd like to hear you sing sometime," he added after a moment. She had a nice voice as it was, he wondered what it was like to hear her sing.

Stevie turned her head and studied his profile in the low lighting of the dashboard. "Raiders killed our guitarist and bassist," she said, her voice flat again. "I doubt the band will be playing any time soon." She cleared her throat, eyes going front. "That's mostly why Mick is acting the way he is. He and Davey started the band. They'd been friends since... forever." She'd had a few rolls in the hay with Cage too, but surely that was too much information for a priest.

Daniel was coming to the realisation that he was just no damn good at this.

Everything he said seemed to elicit some tragic memory. It had been easier in the past, the needs of the poor and the sick were so easily discernible. He had never done parish work so he had no idea how to be comforting or soothing. It was a sad thing to admit that as a priest, he was an awful listener.

"I'm sorry," he apologised, not knowing what else to say. "I didn't mean to remind you of your loss. I assume you were close to the two that you lost." It wasn't even a question. Of course she was.

"Padre," Stevie started saying, automatically slipping into that persona she wore so well, but then stopped and corrected herself. "Daniel. Don't sweat it. It all happened two days ago." He wasn't reminding her of anything. It was still so damn fresh she saw both Davey's and Cage's faces every time she closed her eyes.

"We just managed to clean the blood out of the van yesterday..." She sighed, her mouth twisting a bit as she tried to keep her emotions contained. "We lost Cage south of the border... got ambushed... and Davey got shot in the gut." Now that she had started talking about it, she couldn't stop. "He bled out." Near twenty-four hours he had held on but there was no help, no hospital or clinic they could take him to, and Stevie didn't have the right supplies to even try and fix him herself.

"We buried him yesterday. If it wasn't such a risk going back that way I would have asked you to go do whatever it is you guys do." She looked at him a moment with eyes brimming with tears before she sniffled and looked outside again. "Don't apologise. I don't blame you; I blame your god."

"God's ways are hard to understand," Daniel said soothingly, unsurprised by her story. Since leaving Guadalupe and driving across country, he had heard other stories like this. "Sometimes, even I don't understand them," he confessed. "I take what comfort I can in my faith and hope that sustains me. I won't try to minister to you." He shifted his gaze from the road to her face and then back again. "But I will listen if you wish to talk about it."

She let out a ragged breath. "Nope." That was probably all she would ever say on the subject. Mick and Noah sure as hell didn't want to talk about it. "I just wished we could have brought Cage home," she heard herself say, despite telling Daniel a moment ago she had nothing to add. "I can't believe you managed to get this far without getting attacked. Maybe your luck will rub off on us a bit," she added, not prepared to consider it could be God at work.

"Well, I am usually a good judge of character," Daniel said, glancing at her. "I've learned to gauge people over the years. You seemed safe enough and I've mostly avoided people unless I didn't have much of an alternative," he confessed. "Not very priestly, I'm afraid."

"Good call," Stevie said with a snort. "The raiders are locals, not Visitors. People banding together once they've run out of supplies and attacking unlucky bastards that happen to drive near their town..." Her hand tightened on the shotgun mindlessly. "We got lucky enough times, but finally got burned. San Diego is really bothering Mick," she admitted, not really knowing why.

"The law of the jungle," Daniel found himself saying. "I saw it enough times in Africa. With starvation and disease, local warlords would 'commandeer' UN supplies for themselves and then attempt to sell it on the black market or to the highest bidder. Some people don't need the Visitors to turn into animals; they were always that way." Daniel didn't realise how bleak he sounded, how tired he was of trying to keep the faith in the face of this kind of evil. He glanced at her anxiously, perhaps uncomfortable about letting her see that iron clad resolve fissure. Changing the subject, he asked, "Does Mick have family there? In San Diego."

At first Stevie had thought the man had been used to see people taking each other out. You saw enough of that on the news, to places he said he'd gone to help. But now she realised he wasn't. Not really. And her questioning his faith probably didn't help and she felt a little bad about that. What she'd do for a damn beer right now. But what they had left was in van behind them. She wasn't needing it bad enough yet to warrant a stop and possibly expose them to trouble.

"No. He's from South Central LA. All his family were up there. Well, what was left of it." She shook her head. "He's not really broken up about that." And that was a horrid thing to say but it was the truth. "No, San Diego is going to be the biggest centre we've come across so far and Tijuana was bad enough. A larger scale worries him." And with good reason.

"Makes sense," Daniel nodded. "There'll be more Visitors in San Diego and San Francisco. The news I've received is that they're trying to keep the population under control by restoring some services, to make the cage gilded."

Shuddering at that, Stevie turned to him. "And you're going to enter that cage willingly?" She had vivid images of the first occupation. She'd been seven then and had spent the following three years dodging attention and bullets as her family helped the Resistance any way they could. She remembered the curfews, checkpoints, rations... being fattened up for consumption. "Where were you the first time they came?"

"San Jose," Daniel replied, thinking on his youth. "My father was a Soviet defector so he saw it coming. We went to Canada to get away from it. They had an underground railroad back then too. They got us out and my father worked with the network, smuggling people out."

"My parents did that too..." She looked at him. "The underground railroad. Our basement and garage were converted. We hid many scientists and their families. So you're from Russia?"

"My parents were from Russia," Daniel answered, hoping that Vasily was safe and grateful his mother wasn't alive for this. "I'm second generation."

"Oh." She wondered if he spoke the language. "You think they both could be back in Canada?"

"My mother is dead," Daniel answered. "My father, I'm not sure. My sister was in Europe when this happened. I'm hoping she's still there, in Geneva."

"I'm sorry," Stevie found herself saying. Wasn't Geneva occupied too? For all she knew, the Swiss city could have been destroyed just like LA had been. But she didn't voice that possibility. "I hope your father and sister are safe." For what, she wasn't sure. Why was it worth surviving, she couldn't say. They wouldn't manage to get rid of them as they had twenty years ago. Maybe this time around the Visitors would really wipe out the human race.

"Geneva is above the snowline," he explained. "The dust still works there. I'm hoping Xen decides to remain there and not try to come back and find my father or me." Daniel prayed for that.

"Xen? And you find my name strange?" she couldn't help but remark. "For what it's worth, your sister probably won't be able to cross the ocean to make it back here..."

"Probably not," Daniel answered, saddened by this but also relieved. "Her name is actually Xenia, I've always called her Xen."

"Daniel and Xenia.. those are Russian names?" They didn't strike her as such but she wasn't really versed in all that.

"Daniel isn't but my middle name is Leonid," he volunteered. "My father wanted me to have an American name."

"Leonid." She tried the name. "I like that. Like the falling stars..." She smiled a little, remembering childhood memories.

"Falling stars.." Daniel stared at her, having honestly never heard that reference. "I like Mia." He smiled at her before facing the road again, watching the lines on the road blur past. "I still think it's pretty."

"Thanks," she said, looking at him again. "You don't know what I'm talking about, do you? The Leonids. A meteor shower. Happens every year... mid-November. You've never seen them? Shooting stars, falling stars..."

"Oh," Daniel said, embarrassed. "I've been in some remote places in the last few years..."

"All the more to look at the sky," she returned. "LA is the worst of places to see anything. Too much light pollution. I'll..." She stopped herself, realising that she'd spoken of her city in present tense and that she had no idea where they would be when November came rolling. But chances were she wouldn't be there to introduce him to his namesake.

"Where would you like to go?" he asked, in an effort to change the subject. "Everything north of the snowline is safe."

"I don't know. I don't particularly like the cold so I guess I'm out of luck," she cracked.

"You get used to it," Daniel smiled, suspecting she was the kind of girl that liked to be kissed by the sun, with heat over her long limbs and the breeze blowing through her hair. For a moment, the mental imagery brought a warm sensation inside him. "I was born in San Jose and had to get used to Fort Chimo in Canada. It was an Inuit settlement."

"As in Eskimos?" Stevie asked. "Wow, that's far north. I don't think we were thinking that far. In fact, we haven't really settled on where. We've been more or less heading north in a straight line. Could have gone south too, but the snowline down there is further away."

"You're better off north," Daniel commented. "Preferably somewhere where you can speak the language. South of the border is good until your run out of Spanish to speak."

"My Spanish is fine but can't really swing Portuguese..." she returned. "You must have picked up a few languages on your travels..." Chit-chat. It was safer than dwell on the fate of her home, her parents or on Cage and Davey.

"Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, Swahili, couple of African dialects, a little Arabic..." he rattled off. Jesuits on a whole tended to be learned. It came with having a Masters of Divinity but most of his languages he had learned during his missionary work. "When you do mission work, you pick things up."

"I figured." She flashed him a smile. "I picked up a few tricks myself with my job, but nothing a priest would want to know," she joked.

"You can tell me, my dear," he joked. "I'm the soul of discretion. Considering it stepping inside a confessional." He almost winked but held himself in check because God would surely strike him down dead.

"Confession?" Stevie looked at him. Damn it, she really should have brought a couple of beers with her. "Too many sins, Padre. We'd run out of time." Hell... "Seven years on the road in a rock band... what I can tell you is that all that sex, drugs and rock n' roll you hear about is true. And then some. Not that I'm trying to shock you or anything," she added with a wince.

"I doubt you could shock me," he said with a straight face but imagined that she might be able to do so immediately. "Although, I have no experience with sex, never tried drugs and rock n roll tastes is twenty years behind everyone else." He smirked.

Was he flirting with her? Stevie shifted in her seat, getting a vibe off him she was rather used to but hadn't expected from him. Giving him a sideways glance, she thought better of it. Nah. He was cute, she had to give him that, but he was a priest, for fuck's sake.

"Twenty year old rock is still good. The thirty and forty year old stuff too, so you're okay," she told him. "The sex... that's all true? I mean you really don't try it out at least once before saying no to it for the rest of your life?" The question escaped her before she could stop it. Looking stricken, she turned to him. "I'm sorry... shit. I didn't mean..." She shook her head. "I suppose it's overrated anyway..." she let out, trying to apologise in her own stilted way.

"It's alright," he said smoothly, having fielded that question often in his past. In fact, the sex seemed to be the question most lay persons (bad choice of words) tended to be most curious about in the priesthood. "I'm sure it's good." He shrugged, trying to remain neutral about the answer. "It seemed better not to try it once, so to speak, largely because you never miss what you've never had but you certainly would miss what you have had before. It seemed the safer of the two choices," he explained seriously.

"True," Stevie said quietly. And she'd lied; sex could be damn good. Nothing she would or could turn her back on after a taste. "If I can ask..." She eyed him a second. "Why the whole celibacy thing? I mean other religions or orders allow for their priests or whatever to settle down and have families. I could never get that..."

"Believe it or not, there are several conflicting reasons for it," Daniel answered truthfully. "However, the most obvious one is for spiritual purity. A priest without the considerations of the flesh will be able to free his mind of earthly needs and be closer to God."

"So you're saying the others, they're not as pure or close to God as Catholic or Jesuit priests?" She'd heard all that mentioned in school, growing up, she just hadn't heard a priest tell her to her face and looking like he believed it. And Daniel, well, he looked like he had his head screwed on. At least he didn't believe into the whole Dianetics thing, that the believers would escape into giant spaceships when the time came, or whatever nonsense it was. Even with the Visitors showing up, that remained a silly proposition to Stevie.

"I didn't say that," Daniel returned, although it did sound that way, didn't it? "I said that's our reasons for it. For Jesuits and Catholics, that is a choice we make to feel closer to God but celibacy is not a demand. A man and woman, who are together in the flesh, will be devoted to each other. It would not be possible to divide one's love between God and your mate."

"But others claim to be able to do it," she replied, trying to think of one example. "The Methodists, I think, are one of those. I'm not saying you're wrong, I guess what I'm saying is that's my main problem with religions. They all claim to be the right one, the right way, to have this direct line to God and whatnot." Stevie fell quiet for a moment, running her hands in her hair. "I'm not having a go at you, at your beliefs. I've just never had the chance to talk to a priest before... to ask."

"Jesuits tend to be a little more open-minded about the faiths of other orders. It may well be that Methodists may feel as close to God by partaking in carnal pleasure." Daniel cleared his throat when he said the word. "But Jesuits feel that devotion to God must come first above all else, including sexual release." He glanced at her and then turned away. "In any case, I am happy to answer any questions you might have."

"Thanks for... indulging me." Hot damn. She was sitting next to a thirty-something virgin. Could things get any weirder? Well, yeah, they could. They were talking about... carnal pleasure. She hid a smirk. "I don't know what the Methodists' rational could be. Maybe it's all about families... being able to have one, and therefore better guide their flock. Must be hard to tell some husband or wife or parent what to do when you have no idea yourself." She figured he'd be regretting opening the door to her questions soon.

"To tell the truth," he confessed. "I've never had a parish so I've been fortunate enough to not have to deal with that question." But she did make a valid point though. How did parish priests advise their flock about matters between a husband and wife when they were so far removed from such a relationship? "Most priests now try to be advisers by opening lines of communication, making them listen to each other."

Stevie nodded, starting to feel peckish - which was totally unrelated with their subject of conversation. "So you've been doing mission work since you became a priest? I had a friend in college, she was going to join that medecins sans frontiere outfit," Stevie said. "Doctors without frontiers. We've lost touch but I guess she would have been going to similar spots as you..." If Christine ever got there as planned.

"Pretty much." He nodded, thinking back on how he had been seconded by Father Clearly right out of ordination to travel to Zimbabwe and later Rwanda. "And yes, I did run into some of the doctors from that organisation. We also do work with UNICEF and Amnesty International." They'd been driving for some time now and he asked, "Are you thirsty or hungry?"

"I was just going to ask you the same." She gave him a smile. "Was just starting to feel a little hungry. I have snacks in my pack. You want something?"

The mention of food made his stomach tighten slightly. "I wouldn't mind a bite." He looked at her with a smile before looking at the road again. In the rear-view mirror, the two points of light indicated Mick and Noah still behind them.

"Okay, let me check." Stevie reached behind her and pulled her pack forward. "Chips, chocolate, peanuts... oh, and some beef jerky." She looked up, one hand up full of packets of different things. "I'm keeping the gummy bears." She smiled.

He laughed out loud. "They're yours. Far be it for me to steal a woman's gummy bears."

It was surprising to hear him laugh like that. Call her crazy but Stevie didn't picture priests bursting out laughing. Forcing herself to look away from his face and that mouth, she looked back to her pack. "Well, now that we understand each other, what would you like?"

"I'll have some peanuts," he said after a moment. "If we could get a movie. It would almost be like in-flight entertainment." He smiled at her.

Stevie blinked. Dear god, she was certain he was going to call it a date. "Peanuts," she said, handing him the pack. "Oh, want me to open it for you?" She figured he'd struggle, one-handed.

"If you would, please." He nodded appreciatively. "There aren't many cars driving but with all the abandoned vehicles, I'd rather have both hands on the wheel."

"Sure," she said, before bringing the packet to her mouth and ripped it open with her teeth. "Here." She handed it to him and got herself some jerky. Working on her own packaging, she finally bit through and spat out a bit of the plastic wrapper. "Mmm..." she let out, starting to chew on a piece.

The sound of plastic made him turn instinctively towards her, reacting to the sound, and then he froze a moment, watching her mouth work the plastic, lips working so expertly before she started to chew. Blinking, he faced front again, reminding himself to keep his thoughts from straying into uncharted territory because such forays could only end badly. Instead, he picked at the peanut packet, slipping a couple into his mouth to chew, give him something else to focus on.

"How is the jerky?" he asked to make conversation.

"Good. You want some?" She pretty much shoved the stick of dried meat in his face.

"Uh, sure," he said. "Give me a sec," he said, switching hands on the wheel so he could reach for the stick.

"Let me get that." Stevie reached and took hold of the pack of peanuts while he swapped it for the beef jerky. "It's the hot one," she warned him helpfully.

"Once you've had spicy grasshoppers, jerky is tame," he said, taking the jerky stick and slipped it into his mouth, taking a bite before chewing. It was hot but it was tasty and just what was needed on a night when his mind was too filled with uncomfortable thoughts.

"Grasshoppers?" Stevie grimaced. "You're having me on..." She looked at him, expecting to find him grinning at his own joke but no. He was just busy chewing before he took another bite, and Stevie just watched him as he did, his mouth getting all her attention. An f-ing priest, girl. Look somewhere else.

"Not at all," he said after swallowing, his blue eyes meeting hers briefly, and noted a rather intense stare she was giving him. Assuming she was waiting for him to continue, he resumed, "It's a delicacy. Doesn't taste too bad if you wash it down with alcohol." He laughed.

"You drink?" Shit. She thought all they could have was that sip of wine. Stevie smiled at her own views on priesthood and started eating the peanuts since Brother Daniel seemed to be all wrapped up by the jerky.

"It's a vice, I know, and I don't indulge often." He took a bite of the jerky and chewed a moment. "But sometimes, I have a drink." In truth, Father Cleary had said having one vice would be a mercy to the priest who had to take his confessional. It would give the man something to absolve him for. Cleary had given him his first glass of vodka and the Russian in him liked the drink too much to banish it from his life entirely.

"Fancy that," she let out with a chuckle. "What's your poison? Because I can always flag the boys down. We have some booze in the van," she offered. "I could take the wheel for a while and you could relax."

Daniel hesitated and wondered if he should. Then again, he'd been driving for two days and the last three weeks had been a trial. Yes, he didn't think God would begrudge him a drink. "Vodka." He shrugged. "It's in my blood apparently."

"Oh, yeah, Russian. Well, you're in luck." She glanced behind them and then she checked the stretch of road they were on. They hadn't met one soul since they had left and there were no lights front or back, meaning no one was approaching. The last junction of road was a few miles back. It was as safe as it could be. "Slow down and keep an eye out."

Doing what he was told, he slowed the jeep down, but kept a vigil on everything on the road. It was too dark a night to not be paying attention and an accident would serve no one.

Turning in her seat, Stevie raised the shotgun so she would be ready and flagged Mick so they would understand their intention to stop.

When the two vehicle came to a halt, Stevie jumped out, scanning around at the few dead cars that littered the side of the road.

Noah came out too, gun in hand. "Everything alright?" he called out.

"Yeah, yeah. Just a thirsty priest," Stevie quipped. "Mind giving us a beer and the Vodka?"

Noah chuckled after he picked his jaw off the ground. "Gimme a sec," he said and then threw Mick a look.

Pulling the jeep to a halt, he watched her climb out, admiring her form as she went to the other vehicle. She was feline in her grace, smooth supple lines he noted and then blinked because she shouldn't have noted at all. What was it with him? Since he met her, he had been acutely aware she as female.

Noah soon slid the side door of the kombi closed and came back to her. "Here." But before she could grab the bottle and pull away, his hand closed over one of hers. "What's going on there? Your charm didn't work so you're going to get him drunk?"

"Ah-ah. Fucking funny as usual." She pushed away from him, pulling her hand from his grip.

"Hey, Mick. Not too tired?" she asked, dipping her head so she could see him through the window.

"I'm good. You watch yourself, girl," Mick replied. "Don't forget, next turn off. We need to get off the interstate. San Diego isn't far ahead."

"Will do... or you can take point, if you want..." she suggested.

"No. I'm gonna watch your back." He smiled, a little wicked glint in his eyes. She knew he meant her ass.

"Ah-ah, you too." With that Stevie went back to the Jeep.

"I'll drive?" she offered, passing Daniel the two bottles. One Vodka and one beer.

"Yeah," he consented, taking the bottles from her as he climbed out of the jeep and let her take his place. Waving in acknowledgement of the other car, Daniel climbed into the seat she had previously occupied, setting the bottles down on his lap as he unfastened the white collar about his neck. He needed to rest and the collar was feeling restrictive, particularly tonight.

Settling down in the driver's seat, Stevie placed the shotgun between her and the door, still not fully trusting him with it. After all, the man had just taken his collar off... She tried not to read anything into that. Whatever that could mean. Moving the seat forward a bit and fixing the mirrors, she soon turned to him, grabbing the jerky he'd just put back in his mouth. "If you don't mind..." She winked, stuck the stick of meat between her lips, and got the Jeep in first gear and drove off.

"Uh, no... sorry," he apologised, somewhat embarrassed, as he undid the top button of his shirt and rubbed his neck where the white collar had chaffed a bit. Unscrewing the bottle of vodka, he took a sip and let the liquid burn down his throat pleasantly. "Beer?" he handed her the bottle once they were on their way again.

"Thanks." She took the beer and put it between her thighs to twist the cap off. After a deep pull, she glanced at him. "With the booze, the food, the warm wind in my hair, I can almost forget the sky fell on us last month," she told him, keeping the fact to herself that his company wasn't bad either.

"Yes," he had to agree, forcing himself not to pay attention to what her thighs were doing. Father in heaven, he chanted to himself, keep my thoughts clear. "It's beautiful out here, almost peaceful."

"Yeah..." She glanced at him, noting the open shirt. "That hurt after a while?" she asked, not having missed how he'd played with his neck after pulling that white thing off.

"It can chaff if I've had it on for too long," he explained. It felt good to be free of it though. "Besides, it's a warm night."

The beer back between her legs, Stevie reached for the collar in his lap. "Shit, it's plastic?" she asked, surprised. "I hadn't realised..." she let out, her fingers releasing the thing after they had felt the rather hard and stiff quality of the thing.

His stomach clenched instinctively, but he forced away the anxiety that came when she reached for him. "Usually it's not that noticeable under fabric but as I said, I've had it on too long." He needed another swig of vodka, eyes looking at her now, thinking that in the moonlight, the term elfin seemed even more appropriate. Like Titania... he thought whimsically.

"Well, don't mind me." She gave him a smile as she glanced at him again. "Relax, get some rest, whatever... you've been on the road for a while."

"Thank you," he said, appreciating the concern. She wasn't wrong, he had been on the road for two days on his own, stopping as little as possible because he has been mindful of raiders, not exactly like the ones she, Mick and Noah had encountered but close enough to warrant caution. Daniel was more than accustomed to seeing people revert to the law of the jungle in tough times. Running his hand over his neck where the roman collar had rubbed, he adjusted the collar of his shirt (or Rabat as is was properly known) so it splayed open like a normal shirt. Shifting his positioning in the seat, he tried to get comfortable.

Flashing headlights in the rear-view mirror caught her attention and she saw the road sign ahead next. She waved one hand in the air, letting Mick know she'd spotted it. "Time to hit those back roads," she told Daniel as she peeled off the interstate when the exit came.

"I'll leave it in your capable hands," he said, giving her a smile. "Wake me if you want me to take over the driving again." He didn't plan on sleeping but he was tired and might doze off anyway.

"Will do," Stevie replied, glancing his way. He looked more normal like that, she thought to herself, without the collar. Not that looking like a priest was abnormal but... well, it sure as hell was unusual for her to be sitting next to one, let alone drive the man's ride. "Here." She passed him the beef jerky once more, before she finished it. He seemed to enjoy it, so...

"Thanks," he said, taking it because it had tasted good. "This will definitely put me to sleep." Though there were worse things, doing off looking at her...

"Go right ahead." She smiled again, meeting his eyes briefly before returning her attention on the road.

To be continued in Sins

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