Drabble written for zen_of_punk...

She wanted a FF drabble with Mal as the main character and either a line about cowboys or a cowboy-ish theme. Um. Well. I did get talk of horses in there! *helpless shrug* Sorry it's not my best work ever. My Mal muse was being stubborn. :(

Title: The Golden Rule (Lies Your Parents Told You)
Author: Sonya
Character(s): Mal
Summary: His mama brought him up right.
Disclaimer: Not mine. All hail Joss.


His mama always told him: you treat your horse right, it'll do right by you. Drilled it into him was more like it. Sometimes with words, sometimes with a belt strap across his backside. She might've been strict, but she brought her son up right. Sure, bein' a single mother on a rim world ranch made things tough, but that was only to be expected.

Besides, he'd take one backwater ranch over a thousand mansions in "polite society" any day of the week and twice come Sunday. He'd just never been one for small talk and bowin' and whatnot. Gettin' him to mind his p's and q's had been hard enough for her, he reckoned. No need to muck it up with all sorts of fancified speeches and useless frippery.

But still, whether you were filthy rich or dirt poor, it didn't make a bit of difference when it came to a man's mount. You treated horseflesh with respect, that was just all there was to it.

So when Mal shot Patience's horse down on top of her on Whitefall; it was no surprise that he almost thought he heard his mother's voice in his head, dressin' him down about the waste of a perfectly good animal.

Of course, she'd also told him that God would always be there to help his children when they were in need.

Mal looked down at Patience, sprawled beneath almost a thousand pounds of dead meat, and found it wasn't so hard to will his mother's ghost into silence. After all, he'd stopped putting stock in parental guidance 'round the same time he'd learned just how the Lord repaid them that were faithful to him. Funny how that worked.