Justin sat on the ground the Sub in front of him. He kept turning the Sub's head so he had to look him in the face.
“Justin,” he repeated, slapping himself on his chest. He had studied the Sub for a couple of hours and had decided that there was intelligence there. It was just well hidden. The Sub blinked back at him, bored with this new game. He lifted Justin's hand and told him so but Justin just took his hand back and slapped his chest making the sound again.
“Justin.” The Elite emphasised his name sounding out each syllable carefully.
The Sub took a deep breath. “Jus-in,” he sounded.
The Elite jumped, the Sub had understood and was trying to mimic him. He slapped his chest again.
“J.U.S.T.I.N.” he sounded out again excitedly.
The brunette picked up on his enthusiasm and tried again. “Jus-in,” he repeated. He smiled when the Elite whooped and hugged him tight.
“You can talk!” he exclaimed excitedly. “We were told that you couldn’t talk, that you just looked like men but were actually animals.”
The Sub blinked his big blue eyes and tried to snuggle into Justin's arms. Touch was a language he understood, not the funny noises the Elite made.
Justin held him at arms length, “No,” he said shaking his head. The Sub tried again and again Justin held him away. “No,” he said again.
The brunette backed away a sad look on his face.
“No,” he mimicked understanding of the word seeping into his brain.
Justin was ecstatic. The Sub wasn’t just intelligent but capable of learning fast. He beckoned the Sub to him. “Come,” he said softly, then repeated the instruction all the time beckoning the man towards him.
Justin smiled as the Sub repeated the word. He opened his arms wide. “Hug,” he said still smiling.
The Sub went to nestle in his arms but Justin snapped “No.” The Sub jumped and stopped dead not coming any closer. “Hug,” Justin said again as he opened his arms.
The Sub chewed on his lip, wide eyed and confused. He took a tentative step towards the Elite. “Hug …Jus-in?” he asked sadly.
Justin grinned and gathered him in his arms hugging him tight and swinging him around. “Good boy,” he cooed. “Very good boy.”
“Good boy,” the Sub mumbled into Justin's neck.
Justin spent the best part of the day teaching the Sub simple language. The first thing was to try and find out if he had a name. After round after frustrating round of “Me Justin, you …?” Justin was about to give up.
The Sub screamed into his hands in frustration. He had told the Elite over and over what his name was but he just didn’t understand. Gathering his patience together the Sub took Justin's hand in his and carefully signed his name against his palm. The Elite wouldn’t look though. He just squeezed his hand and repeated his question, his eyes firmly on the Sub's face. The Sub lost his temper, tugging hard on Justin's hand and digging his nails into his palm to make the Elite look.
“Owww, that hurt!” Justin exclaimed, looking at his hand for the first time. The Sub signed his name, repeating it over and over.
“Of course! I’m so stupid.” He thrust his hand back at the blue eyed man. “Again,” he demanded.
The Sub rolled his eyes and took Justin's hand making the sign for his name.
“Jay-cee’ Justin said. He lifted the Sub's face to look at him and he took his hand. He copied the sign perfectly on the Sub's palm sounding out the shapes he was making.
“Jay-cee, your name is Jay-cee.”
JC broke into a huge toothy grin. “Jay-cee.” The Sub tried the new sound out on his tongue. He touched the Elite’s chest. “Jus-in,” he said. Then he hit his own chest. “Jay-cee,” he said proudly.
JC disappeared for a while and when he came back he had Justin’s pack and a dead rabbit both of which he presented proudly to his new friend. Justin cringed but accepted the dead creature. The Sub hunted around in the dirt then came back grinning. He took the rabbit back and sat down with it between his legs, chopping at its fur with the sharp stone he had found. Justin fought the urge to vomit as JC held out the rabbit’s heart for him, miming that he should eat it...
“No Jay-cee,” Justin said firmly, pushing the entrails away in disgust. He rummaged in his pack and pulled out two protein bars. He ripped one open and took a bite.
“Mmm,” he said rubbing his belly. “Good.” He held the bar out to JC who took it and sniffed it.
“Good?” he questioned.
Justin nodded. “Yes Jay-cee. Good, eat.” Justin ripped open another bar and took a bite.
JC copied him, biting into the bar. He pulled a face and spat it back out. He reached for his rabbit and Justin stayed his hand. “No Jay-cee, rabbit bad, this good.” He lifted the bar back to JC’s lips.
The Sub was unconvinced and looked longingly at his catch. His shoulders sagged and he took a bite of the protein bar chewing carefully and swallowing reluctantly.
“Jay-cee good boy?” he asked shyly.
Justin caressed the side of his face and the Sub gave a soft whimper and nuzzled against the soft flesh and licked softly at Justin's palm. Justin gazed at the Sub and had to stop himself from sighing contentedly. He lifted JC’s face and stroked his cheek with his thumb.
“What is it Jay-cee? What is it that I’m saying to you when I do that and what are you saying back to me?”
The only reply was a small whimper and JC’s hot tongue on his skin.
Lance checked his tracker. Two days had passed and not a sign of his quarry. The blip had changed direction indicating that the Sub was less than a mile east of him and was stationary. He checked his rifle and started heading east.
Justin was leaning against a tree watching JC playing with a beetle he had found. The child like innocence enthralled him and JC’s eagerness to learn amazed him. The Sub looked up the beetle crawling over his hands.
“Beetle,” he said happily. Before Justin could stop him he popped it into his mouth and crunched it with his teeth. “Beetle good,” he said between chews. “Protein.”
Justin clamped his hand over his mouth in horror. “No Jay-cee, Not good!” he dived at the Sub, hooking his finger into his mouth and scraping out the remains. He took JC’s hands in his and made him look at him. He thought hard. How cold he explain that eating living creatures was wrong. JC tilted his head to the side looking at the Elite with doe eyes.
“Jus-in?” he asked sadly. “Jay-cee bad, eat beetle?”
The Elite’s heart melted. “No Jay-cee not bad. Jay-cee just uneducated.”
The Sub blinked and cocked his head, his delicate features twisted with lack of understanding. Justin sighed and traced his fingers down the side of JC’s face. “I wish I could make you understand.”
The Sub nuzzled his hand and Justin smiled again. He had never had someone show him so much affection before and he liked it. He pulled JC into his arms and kissed his forehead. “You’ll learn sweetheart,” he promised.