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Dixon turned from the gravesite to join his mother and sister. The priest floated up towards the church, his white cassock billowing like a cape behind him as he hurried to his next appointment. 

On a bench between a pair of young birches, the wail of a new life sounded. Somehow the sound was reassuring and to Dixon, nothing could have been more appropriate. One person leaving the planet just as another was getting used to it.  He approached to see Ezekiel proudly rocking the pram with his week old son in it. On the bench the baby's mother, and the one person Dixon admired more than anyone in the whole world was readjusting her clothing after feeding the wailing child. 
Allie had been Dixon's teacher and the single most important reason why he had survived the years of living with his father's drunkenness. She had fed him, encouraged him and with the help of Ezekiel eventually removed Dixon and his mother from the terror of Ricky Morris.

He watched as Allie stood to give his mum a friendly hug. Not for consolation but relief. Another wail from the pram made June break the hug to look towards the child.

"He doesn't like being on his own..." Allie smiled with the guilty smile of a brand new parent.

"It gets better. Dixon was the same, I had to carry him everywhere for the first six months," June replied and gave the other woman a reassuring pat on the back before moving over to the pram to look at the wailing little person.

Dixon threw a look in and wasn't quite sure if the wailing hands were trying to grab air or beating a rhythm. without really thinking he lifted the dummy from next to the child and gently offered it to the baby.

"He only spits that thing out," Ezekiel chuckled sadly.

Dixon looked up at the grown man who wore a proud and worried grin.
He wanted to make this man proud  of him. And he wanted to be someone this little baby could look up to. Slowly, carefully he placed the dummy in the baby's mouth and held it there while he tucked the blanket tighter around the small body.

"I've said I'll babysit you, kiddo, but i can't do that if you're going to make so much noise," Dixon told the small person, using the same gentle voice he used with the rescue dogs at his weekend job at Dr. Abraham's vetrinary clinic.

A few seconds later, a pair of startlingly golden eyes were staring into his, and the baby sucked on the dummy, quietly. 

"That's it. See, now we can be friends," Dixon, smiled at the baby, letting the palm of his hand rest on the small chest where he could feel the breath expanding and contracting the fragile ribs.

"He's a natural," Allie grinned. 

"I knew he would," June smiled warmly at her son. 

Dixon frowned, for a moment resenting his mother's praise.

"You've always had a gentle touch," June continued.

"Oh God! Hiding all those birds from dad..." Emily grinned before walking up next to dixon to have a look at the baby. His tiny fist was clutching Dixon's pinkie in a death grip while his eyes drooped. His belly was full and there was no reason to stay awake.

Slowly Dixon extracted his hand from the grip, replacing his finger with the ear of a stuffed bunny within reach. He felt the approval of all the people he looked up to and blushed with a mix of pride and embarrassment.

Sam and Ameer had retrated to the black SUV, but surrounding him were all the people he admired. Ezekiel was lifting his son gently from the pram, before the eyes could fully close and manouvered him into the carseat while constantly whispering to him. the baby gave a disgruntled sigh before setling into the carseat and promptly falling asleep.

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