The way the Lucet punctuated his words sent tremors back through Lec's body. There was a cockiness there, a confident ease at which the man spoke, and perhaps it wasn't that alone that scared Lec so much. Now, on the precipice of the city, of safety, of what the Lucet would know as danger, he still had that same air. Lec had been shivering, shaking, fainting in his home, and the Lucet was just as apathetic as he'd been in Lec's. It was as if the Lucet was fearless wherever he went, knowing he could command the world with his fingers, with his fangs, knowing he had Lec completely at his will.
Issa's words were meaningless nothings, flowery aspirations only said to make the humans lower their guard. Lec saw right through him, but Soren watched on with eager eyes. He liked the idea of a Lucet wanting to learn about him and his people, and he wanted to be the one to show him. He imagined the three of them walking along the square when the market strolled around, showing Issa the collections of tools and trinkets so popular in human society. Would he someday get to experience Lucet culture in the same way? Naivety widening the grin on his lips, he turned to his sibling.
"We should help him." His signs were eager, excited.
Lec turned away. "Soren," they said quietly. "Come on, now."
Soren approached their sibling and forced their eyes to him. "Stop ignoring me." He motioned towards Issa. "We can help him. It would be fair. He helped us, so we should help him."
"No." Lec signed the word forcefully, an answer not up for debate. They glanced at the Lucet, still watching them. What did he think they were saying? Would he take offence at their silent language and attack them? The inched away, towards the forest, painfully aware of the short distance between them and this enemy.
Soren was just as stubborn. "He's friendly," he insisted. "He said he won't hurt us. C'mon, Lec, it'll be fun." He was trying to convince his sibling to keep a stray pet, he realized, and he smiled at the comparison he made. He wanted to help this Lucet, to show a single person how pacifist humans could be, despite the bloodshed at the borders. He also romanticized the idea that he, by helping the enemy, could somehow bring the Lucet to trust the humans and end the war. But the child had ulterior motives, too. Maybe all Lec needed was some exposure. Hadn't that been what Papa had always told them? Face their fears until they were no longer fears... Maybe, if Soren could get his sibling and this Lucet to get along, maybe Lec would no longer be haunted by their trauma.
Without waiting for a response, Lec walked towards the Lucet and grabbed for his hand. He started tugging him towards the city, only to be startled by his sibling's sharp yell. "Soren, what are you doing?" Lec swatted at the joined hands of their enemy and their sibling. "Act like a man, Soren, would you?"
Soren crossed his arms over his chest. His meaning was clear: He wasn't moving until he got what he wanted.
Lec shifted uncomfortably, dying to get out of his situation, out of these clothes and this makeup, out of this existence. They looked towards the Lucet. He must have thought them idiots, easily manipulated and scared little humans. Lec clenched their jaw. "It's dark," they said. "We can't show you anything now. Come back at noon tomorrow. Then we can show you around."
They didn't know why they were saying this. Entertaining the idea of being a guide for a Lucet was barbaric, but if Lec's words would get their brother to let them go home, they would say whatever they needed to. Whether or not they'd be stupid enough to come back at noon, that was a different story.
A smile spread over Soren's face again, and he excitedly looked to Issa. He made signs as if to goad him into confirming. Suddenly he turned to Lec, making small handsigns towards Issa, demanding a translator.
"No," Lec replied with a shake of their head. "It's not wise." But as the young boy persisted, Lec sighed. They just wanted to go home. They turned to Issa. "His name is Soren," they said. "He wanted me to let you know."