Trails West, 1980

It's funny how silence is.

It creeps in on you, weighing you down like a tangible substance.

Every sound becomes magnified.

A creak in the wall could be the end approaching. The quiet rustle of the curtains against the window was a threat in the still air.

The silence itself will eventually become deafening. All thought is washed away in the stillness. It is like the roar of the ocean as it wears down the shoreline.

Walt sat in silence.

His eyes remained glued on his greatest enemy. His nemesis. A construct created by humanity for the purpose of keeping things they wanted to keep. A pet, an object, not a person with a mind and will of his own. Trapped inside a steel mesh cage with wires that were thicker than his fingers. A human might hope to bend them. Walt would never be so lucky.

He stared at the lock that sat innocuously clasped around the cage door.

For days he'd sat inside the cage. Trapped like nothing more than an animal. Fed a base diet of stale crackers and water almost absently by people that couldn't be bothered to care about the person they had snatched away from his life.

Mallory must think he was dead.

It was what he'd expect if he was the one waiting. To be caught and killed. Humans thought they were pests, after all. Rodents to be snuffed out. If the careful gathering of supplies went noticed by the humans that ran the small bed and breakfast, Trails West,mouse traps would begin to appear around the kitchen areas.

Those were dark times. The small people that lived in the walls would do their best to help their only allies in the world, the mice, find food. Everyone would have to band together, and even that was dangerous. Gathering all the families in one place would put them all at risk, make them easier to find.

But sometimes it needed to be done.

There was safety, and danger, in numbers.

Walt's back was to the steel mesh of the cage. The wall lay beyond, towering over his head. If he was to stare straight up at where it intersected the ceiling, he would get vertigo.

Humans were that big.

He was alone at the moment. The humans that had captured him were out celebrating. They anticipated he would pull in a large sum of cash in the black markets. There was no way out for him, after all. No escape.

No hope.

Only the knowledge that his small wife would mourn him.

No one else.

She was so fragile. Barely a wisp of a girl that had taken in his sorry ass. They were even hoping to have their first child soon. Continue on with the next generation of the Watch family.

Now it seemed his family line would end with him. The last surviving son of a dead line. The youngest brother was now the last.

He prayed that Mallory would move on without him. Find someone new to share her love with. She deserved all that and more. If he wasn't around to give it to her, there would be someone else out there that would. There had to be.

That thought was all he had to hold on to.

He stared straight ahead, unmoving. For minutes at a time he didn't even blink. Time passed at a crawl, but it did pass. The light outside started to shift to evening and he knew his time would soon come.

It wasn't long after the warm hue of sunset began to spill into the room that he was made aware of a new sound infringing on his silence.

Footsteps.

Heavy thuds were approaching the room. The table his cage was on started to quiver with the power, a power that humans took for granted. The instinct to run rose up in Walt, but there was nowhere to go.

No place to hide.

He stiffened in place as a dark shadow fell over the door. He didn't twitch so much as a muscle as the shadow began to bend down to open the door. Normally, that instinct would help hide him in plain sight if he had no other choice. Here, it would do him no good.

Instead of the rattling of a key, a steady series of clicks could be heard coming from the doorknob. Brow furrowing, Walt pulled himself to his feet. Never, in all his 19 years of life had he heard the like.

He wrapped a hand around one of the steel mesh bars behind him. He needed support to stay on his feet after days of not moving aside from using the bathroom (a small pile of woodchips he'd fashioned himself out of the scattered bits on the floor), or eating the scant food given to him.

Something clicked in the door.

It swung open, the towering mass of wood handled by the human like it was child's play. Walt or his people would never hope to be able to budge such a massive construct like that.

The man that came into the room was big.

Tall, dark haired, yet with piercing blue eyes just like Walt, the human stared around the room. He let the door swing closed behind him. He steadily searched through the room from where he was standing, not moving a muscle as he took it all in.

His eyes found the cage. They locked onto Walt.

"Ah, hell," Bobby Singer cursed.


Bobby stared at the small man in the cage, and the small man stared back at him. It had been over a minute since he'd uttered a word, unable to believe what he'd found.

A little.

It had been over three years since he'd first run into the small people that lived alongside humans. They'd helped him solve a case in the beginning of his career, letting him know the identity of the ghost before anyone else had gotten hurt (including his own reckless self). They were friendly enough, if very restrained in his presence. They'd wasted no time getting back under cover after he knew what his target was. There hadn't even been time for a thank you.

And now there was a man trapped in a cage, staring up at Bobby like he was seeing his death.

Bobby held out his hands. "Easy now. It's okay. I'm not gonna hurtcha. I'm just here to get you out."

Inwardly, he was cursing. He didn't want to believe that the jackass hunter he'd found in the area had actually found littles. Now, he'd have to find a way to get that guy off their trail. If the wrong hunter had found this room, it would already be over. Or the vulnerable kid that was trapped in front of him would be tortured until he gave up the location of the others.

Bobby took a few measured steps forward. The other guy flinched back, finding his way to a corner. His eyes were unblinking as he stared up at the hunter.

"I'm just gonna get you out of there, okay?" Bobby continued on, keeping a steady, calm tone of voice. He didn't want the kid to get scared. He couldn't be a day over twenty, from the look of things, and who knew how long he'd spent in the cage so far.

An innocent kid, trapped because he was different.

"What's your name?" Bobby asked as he held up his lockpick and started in on the door.

Bright blue eyes flashed between him and the lock. Not a word escaped the small blond kid.

Bobby held in a sigh. He couldn't say he was surprised, but he was disappointed. He'd enjoyed talking to the littles the last time he'd run into them, but clearly this one wouldn't give him that chance. He'd already been hurt by humans.

The lock clicked open. Bobby went to reach inside to get him out.

The guy let out a yelp of surprise, diving to the side to get away from the grasping hand. If Bobby had ever felt guilt in his life before (and he had, so many times), he felt it now, as powerful as ever. Here was a person that had been hurt by humans, and was desperate to stay out of the clutches of other humans. He clearly didn't want to chance another person trapping him.

Bobby let his hand fall to his side.

"I'm not gonna hurt you," he said. He closed his eyes in thought. An idea occurred to him. Blue eyes opened up once more, freezing the kid in place. "I'm gonna put your cage down on the floor. Okay? Then you can get yourself to safety, and I'll go get that other hunter off your trail. But ya better keep out of sight the next few days until this all blows over. He's out for blood."

With that said, he lifted up the cage. The other man tumbled to the ground, but was up in a flash when the cage was lowered to the floor. Bobby made sure that the door was pointed away from him, giving the guy plenty of space to escape.

The blond man glanced over his shoulder, meeting Bobby's eyes once more.

Bobby made a shooing gesture. "Get yourself gone. It's high time you get back to your family or friends. I'll take care of the rest, don' you worry."

He received a solemn nod in return, then the small guy darted off. He vanished behind the dresser in the room. When Bobby checked a minute later, there was no sign of him.

He was gone.


Darkness was falling by the time he returned to the small home he shared with his beautiful wife.

There were tears in her eyes as she opened up the door, pushing aside the block of wood that kept out the bugs and spiders that shared the world with them.

"Walt, oh, you're home!" She flew into his arms. It didn't matter that she barely reached his chest. Her hug had enough force to knock the breath from his lungs.

Walt hugged her back, desperately relieved to see her again. He pulled out of the hug only to share a passionate kiss.

"I want to have a baby with you," he murmured as they came up for air. His days in the cage left him wanting to leave something behind, someone to remember him and someone to keep Mallory company if he was ever lost. He blinked back tears of his own, sharing his greatest desire with her. "I want to be a father."

Theirs was a hard life, but it was theirs.

Mallory stared up at him, her lips parted in surprise. "Oh, my love," she said breathlessly, pulling him into another hug.

He found himself pulled over so she could whisper in his ear. She brought his hand to her stomach to let him feel the bump that was forming. "You'll be a father soon. I'm pregnant."