"Dexter? I accidentally got grape juice on my shirt today."

Dexter kneels down to look at the purple splotch on Cody's shirt. It's over the size of his fist and long dry. Dexter doesn't think the stain will come out.

"No worries, buddy," says Dexter aloud. "Give the shirt to me and I'll wash out the stain. It'll be good as new by tomorrow, trust me. Now go get into some clean clothes."

Cody smiles.

Dexter tries everything he can think of. The super-cycle on the washing machine. Multiple stain removers. Detergent directly on the shirt before putting it in the machine. When night falls and he's the only one still awake, with a dirty shirt and an even dirtier ghost of a conscience, he tries hand washing. That doesn't work either.

He wishes Rita were here. She was always so good at removing stains, always filled with home remedies and tricks to clean up any mess. She was always so good at being the parent he is not.

"Wow, thanks, Dex!" says Cody the next morning when Dexter presents him a clean shirt.

Cody beams at him. Dexter can't beam back but he mangles smile before sending Cody out the door to catch the school bus.

Dexter never mentions the fact that earlier that morning, at the crack of dawn, he went out and bought a new shirt, throwing the old one in the waste bin.


A/N: Reviews are love.