A/N I wanted to right about Sharla, Gadolt and Juju and somehow ended up with this...thing...I hope you enjoy it anyway. Juju is stupid and annoying but I like him anyway. We were all stupid and annoying once xD
"Don't worry, Juju," said Gadolt. "It just wasn't meant to be, but there's always next time."
"Sharla passed first time," said Juju, sticking his bottom lip out in a pout.
Most children in Colony 6 enlisted in the Preliminary Rifle Training Programme, which took six weeks to complete. At the end of the programme, they were put through a short test. Passing it allowed them to move onto further training if they wished- failing meant repeating the programme again from the beginning. It was an effective but frustrating process. While Juju had expected to fail the first time, failing for the second time had sunk his spirits.
"Well, Sharla is a very special lady," said Gadolt gruffly, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
"It's not fair, she's good at everything," said Juju. He was thinking of how Sharla was always the one people came to if they were injured- one of the old biddies had claimed she had 'a healing touch'. She'd learned a lot of her medical knowledge 'on the job' or from what other members of the colony told her and she was really interested in it. But on top of that, she had been the best of her class at any rifle training she'd enlisted in. Gadolt was always trying to get her to take more rifle classes- but she'd told him she'd only done it 'in case of an emergency'. It struck Juju as rather unfair that she had such great talent at something she didn't really care about.
"Everyone has a gift or a talent, Juju. You'll work out what yours is one day," Gadolt said.
"I want to find out now," said Juju.
Juju had wanted his talent to be riflery very, very badly and was bitterly disappointed to find out he'd have to learn how to do it, just like everyone else. He wasn't any good at hand-to-hand combat either and didn't know one end of a wrench from the other, meaning his talent wasn't anything Defence Force related. He sighed morosely.
"Now how about a smile, eh?" Gadolt persisted. "I tell you what, I'll take you out tomorrow, just you and me, and we can practice together."
Juju's face lit up. Gadolt had not taken him out for lessons for a long time, claiming his duties with the Colony 6 Defence Force were taking up all his time. Gadolt was a brilliant teacher- he never lost his temper like some of the rifle instructors did. He gave clear instructions and was happy to repeat the same exercise until Juju could do it every time.
Juju just had one last question…
"Do you know what my gift or talent is?"
"Of course," said Gadolt without missing a beat.
"Then why don't you tell me?"
"Because part of becoming a man is working it out for yourself," said Gadolt with an easy smile.
It was a conversation that lodged itself into Juju's mind. He thought and thought about what his gift or talent could be- but always drew a blank.
He pestered Gadolt about it later that night. They were waiting for Sharla to bring the shopping back so they could eat dinner together. Their house was small and modest- and a lot of things were falling apart- but it had a wonderful atmosphere
"Is my talent being able to sleep through almost anything?" he asked.
"No," said Gadolt, who was cleaning his rifle. He liked to get a good shine on the metal- it helped conceal the age of the thing.
"Oh. Maybe it's being able to do this?"
Gadolt looked up. Juju was double jointed and was fond of making his thumb bend all the way back, so it touched his wrist. Most of the other kids shrieked at this, but Gadolt didn't bat an eyelid.
"No," he said, and went back to polishing his rifle.
"What's all this?" said Sharla, entering the room. She was carrying a basket of groceries- containing the ingredients for their dinner that night. Gadolt got up to take them from her.
"Juju's trying to work out what his gift is," said Gadolt.
"His what?" said Sharla, brow furrowing.
"My gift," said Juju. "Like, you're really good at making people better and Gadolt's great with a rifle."
"Oh," said Sharla. "Well, it's always easier to see other people's 'gifts'," she said frowning. "Hey, I was saving that!" she snapped as Gadolt plucked a piece of fruit from the basket. It was a Sour Gooseberry, one of Sharla's favourites.
"Not unless you give me a kiss," Gadolt teased, holding it above her head with a charming smile.
Juju made the sick noises that were needed for him to fulfil his brotherly duties, and then busied himself by sorting the ingredients out on the kitchen counter. Meat here, fruit there, then vegetables, then stuff like salt…
"You chop the vegetables," he said to Sharla. Then he turned to Gadolt "You carve the meat."
"Yes, sir," giggled Sharla. Gadolt saluted him.
"I'll lay the table…and hurry up, I'm hungry," Juju added good naturedly.
There was nothing remarkable about that evening. There'd been thousands of others like it before and there'd most likely be thousands more in the future. It should have been a forgettable evening.
Except Juju remembered it exactly. He remembered it because it was the last evening they had together before the Mechon took over Colony 6.