By readersdigest


Dean Winchester was a quiet five year old. You could almost say he was entirely silent, except for when he was with his father and younger brother, though even then he was unusually quiet for a child.

So I'm stuck with a mute kid, Caleb thought unhappily. It wasn't that he didn't like kids, or that he had something against Dean, he'd just wanted to go on the hunt that Bobby and John were going on.

Instead, he's stuck with babysitting duty. Well, at least he's asleep, he says to himself.

Sam, the youngest of the Winchester boys and not yet out of diapers was staying with Pastor Jim who'd gone with the other two men, because he's too young to be babysat by Caleb, or so he's told.

Truthfully he's glad there's only one of them to deal with, even if he is asleep.

He walks up to check on his silent charge, slowly opening the door to the spare bedroom. Walking closer to the bed he hears a small noise, more of a yip than a whimper, as though even in sleep the boy is trying to be silent.

Curious, Caleb edges closer to the bed, which drowns the small boy in its size. He notices the creases on Dean's forehead, as though in pain. The whimper sounds again, this time louder and Caleb wonders whether he should wake the boy up.

He knows his fair share about nightmares and can recognise a bad one when he sees one. He reaches out to touch the boy's shoulder when it seems to reach its frightening crescendo.

Dean lurches out of bed, bolting upright, eyes terrified and wild, breath coming in fast pants.

"Hey, kid, calm down," Caleb tries. "Dean, Dean look at me," he tries again and slowly the boy's eyes begin to focus on him. As they do, he lunges across the bed to Caleb and latches on as though for dear life.

Caleb is shocked. Ever since he'd met Dean he hadn't done so much as shake hands with anyone besides his father or brother, let alone hug someone.

Poor kid, he really must be scared, Caleb thinks ruefully.

"Shhh, it's ok. It was just a nightmare"' Caleb soothes, noticing Dean's trembling.

"Come on, why don't we go downstairs, grab some warm milk. Who knows, we might even find Pastor Jim's cookie stash" Caleb says, trying to cheer up the frightened boy.

Dean refuses to let go and Caleb doesn't want to make him so he picks him up, surprised at his lightness, and carries him downstairs.

He flicks on more of the lights on his way down, brightening the home, as though in an effort to banish all darkness.

He sits Dean down at the table, talking to him all the while, assuring him he was just going to get some milk and find the cookies. A few minutes later he returns to where he sat Dean with two big glasses of slightly warm milk and a big plate full of chocolate chip cookies.

He sits down next to Dean and is surprised when Dean looks longingly at Caleb. He must still be scared, Caleb realises, what the hell was he dreaming about that got him so scared he'd welcome jumping up with me? He wonders.

Motioning with his hand for Dean to hop onto his lap, Caleb shifts his chair slightly and Dean clambers up, one hand clutching onto Caleb like a lifeline, the other reaching for the glass of milk.

Caleb swings one arm around Dean's small frame, leaning him against his chest and grabs the other glass, bringing it closer to the table's edge.

"You wanna know a secret?" Caleb asks Dean, looking down at him.

He receives a raised eyebrow as his answer, so he continues.

"Grab a cookie" he instructs as though this was a serious matter.

Dean does so, eyes turning back to Caleb.

"My big brother taught me this" he says conspiratorially, and dunks the cookies into the milk, holding it under. He looks at Dean who is looking at him and says, "try it"

Dean places his milk onto the table and grabs a cookie, dunking it into the glass, watching as bubbles of air rise from the submerged cookie, first rapidly, then with a last ditch effort to reach the surface, sluggish and wet.

Caleb pulls his cookies out, watching Dean do the same and shoves half of it into his mouth. Dean mirrors his effort, getting wet crumbs on the sides of his mouth. They munch happily together in silence for a long moment, finishing the drowned cookies off.

"Yummy, huh?" Caleb asks the quiet boy, hoping for an answer. No word escapes Dean's lips, but what Caleb gets as a reply is worth a thousand words. A small smile makes the edges of Dean's lips curl upwards and Caleb is once again surprised that he is the one to receive such a response. He hadn't seen Dean smile, not even at his father, and yet here he was, the beginnings of a grin gracing his full mouth, and just for Caleb.

They're reaching for another cookies when the rumble of the Impala is heard; breaking the moment they had been sharing. Dean hops off Caleb's lap, moving his glass in front of the next chair before turning to face the door, waiting, watching as his father, Bobby, Jim and Sam come through it.

"Dean" John says, surprise in his voice, "what are you doing up, son? It's late" he says and Dean shuffles his feet slightly. "Come on, how about we go up and tuck Sam in, then you, huh?" his father suggests. Dean dutifully follows and Caleb watches, for once wishing that the hunt he'd wanted to go on so badly had gone for longer.

He wanted more milk and cookies.