A teeny, tiny little oneshot I wrote for a friend for her birthday...and it's highly influenced by listening to 'In My Life' by the Beatles a time too many. Unbeta'd, so all mistakes are mine.

There have been times in my life when I've struggled to recall memories: the sound of my little brother's laugh; my Ma calling us boys in to wash before supper; the giggle of the first girl I kissed. These memories are near to lost to me, now.

Growing up in the craggy hills of the Appalachians was fun, from what I remember. My existence wasn't grand, nor was it terribly interesting, but it was mine and I liked it. I didn't aspire to be much more than my Pa was: a simple man surrounded by his wife and children in the evening, working the land by day.

In my time, I was a wild sort of guy. I'd kissed my share of ladies, and went a little further with others who couldn't honestly be called ladies. Tussling with animals that I had no right to was my ultimate downfall.

Not that I regret it, mind you. I'm still a little peeved that I lost, though.

Damn bear.

There will never be a part of me that doesn't miss the people who came before. With the restrictions put on our kind it's not been easy to do, but I've kept up. The people who I had to leave behind led easier lives, due to "anonymous" contributions, once I was able. The McCarty name has died out, but I still have kin of different names that I watch over and take care of from behind the security of cloaked accounts.

There are some parts, though, that I wouldn't give up for all the gold in the hills.

Those damn bears don't stand a chance, now. I've seen and learned more than I ever would have, growing up a poor mountain man. Far off lands and sights that no mortal will ever dare to imagine. Most importantly, I wouldn't trade anything for the angel that saved me. She's a tough old girl, but you just have to know her to see the goodness hidden behind the pretty packaging.

Yes, there are other sounds, sounds of laughter, of family, and of love, that I can recall with pristine detail: the sound of my little brother's laughter, now that he has someone to laugh with; how my Ma scolds us to clean before we enter the house after supper; the giggle of the last girl I'll ever kiss.

It's amazing how some things never change. My existence isn't grand—it's secretive and taxing at times (and going to school forever will never be interesting), but it's mine, and I like it.

Thank you for reading. :)