Shadows Of The Past

Prompt: #001 Shadow #147 Shadow

Notes: Written for slash me twice and ff friday

"Tell me about your childhood," Simon said drunkenly, reaching over to knock his half-empty mug on Mal's. He had consumed one too many already and things were beginning to get very fuzzy to say the least.

In fact, had River needed medication when she woke up mere minutes ago, he wouldn't for the life of him have been able to remember the drugs and whatnot to give her, let alone administer them to her. Luckily, she had been close to lucid and medication was not a necessity. She was off somewhere playing with Kaylee by now.

"M'kay," Mal slurred, concurring to Simon's suggestion. He too reached out to clink glasses, a dopey grin spreading at the soft sound it emitted. "What d'you want to know?"

Simon shrugged, falling back into his seat and taking a long swig of his drink. "I dunno," he mumbled. "What about…where you lived? Tell me about that." He leaned over the table again, reaching for the almost emptied flask of wine. Pouring himself another glass and settling back down, he looked back up at Mal expectantly.

"Well then," Mal started slowly. "That sounds like a plan!" He grinned stupidly and placed his mug on the tabletop. "So, I lived on a ranch with my momma and about 40 ranch hands. Was raised by 'em all, too. Had more family than anyone I knew. Anyways, we ran cattle mostly, just the usual stuff." He paused to take another sip at his wine.

"And that was on Shadow, right?" Simon put in, remembering vaguely a conversation they'd had some other time about the place.

Mal nodded. "Yup, that's right," he confirmed. "Was no place else in the verse I ever wanted to be when I was a young 'un. Things change though," he murmured. "Things change." He slumped back further in his chair, his grin fading and a sombre expression taking it's place.

There were many things he had had back when he had been on Shadow that he'd never get back. Back then, he'd still believed in God. He'd had his faith and hope and freedom. Then the gorram Alliance came and took it all away.

He had lost everything he had known and been left with nothing. It was unfair and unjust. And the government got away with every single bit of it, the hwoon dahns! That's when things had changed for him. That's when he knew that things would never return to how they had been before.

Mal sighed heavily and drained the rest of his wine. Putting the empty glass down again, he glanced up at his companion, who was sitting in silence, obviously having sensed that the Captain needed some quiet time. He smiled gratefully and nodded to him before pulling himself to his feet.

Pausing for a moment by the table, Mal murmured something so quietly that Simon could barely make out the words. "Ain't nothing left but a shadow of the past, now."