In His Blood

~ For the sga_flashfic Blood challenge.

Bradley joined the Marines the week after he graduated high school, because that's what his daddy and his uncle and his two older brothers had done. His granddaddy had been drafted, but he'd always said he'd have joined if they'd just waited a day.

He'd grown up listening to their stories, knew all the good and bad about being a soldier before he ever hit basic. He'd been in shape and he'd been well-trained by his daddy to say yes sir and no sir and do whatever the fuck he was told by the person who would kick your ass if you didn't -- so basic hadn't been quite as hard on him as it was on some of the others.

At least it hadn't come as a surprise. The Corp was in his blood, and he'd known it since the time he was old enough to walk -- the hallway from his bedroom to the kitchen lined with photos of men in uniform.

Two years after he got out of basic, he'd been re-assigned and found himself going through training again. Things he'd never heard any stories about, and the papers he'd signed meant he couldn't even tell his daddy. Even if Bradley knew he'd understand -- but his daddy also understood that sometimes you don't get to tell anyone back home what you've done.

For awhile, letters home grew vaguer and vaguer as he went through the gate with his squad, running out to rescue some poor team that had got itself into a situation. He figured that they thought he was in Iraq. He hoped they didn't think, now, that he was dead. Off to another fucking galaxy, and things that made fighting the Jaffa look like a piece of cake.

He knew his daddy would be proud. He'll probably never know. Bradley figures his folks will get told, someday, that he died in a training exercise. His daddy and brothers and uncle will know better even if they can't guess the truth; his daddy might not tell his momma what that means.

He never thinks about what he might have been doing if he'd stayed home.