Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: For sga_flashfic's Earthside challenge.
Summary: Aiden Ford has joined the Marines.
He has mud in his nose. He has mud in his ears. He has mud pretty much everywhere. His hair would be matted with it, if not for his fresh buzzcut. It's even sliding down inside his pants, and that kinda sucks.
None of the other recruits are much better off than him, and a couple of them are noticeably worse. Most all of them look tired and cranky, and Aiden can understand that, but he doesn't feel it.
He doesn't mind the mud, really. He's done a little dirt-biking, and further back there are memories of stomping in puddles, and maybe getting pushed into one or two, though more often he was the one doing the pushing.
He likes the way his muscles are burning after the workout he's just had. He likes it because it's an honest result of his own hard work, and it makes him feel like a proper man.
He likes knowing that when the day's over, he'll go to his bunk and sleep so hard he won't dream. And he likes that before that, he'll have spent an hour on the shooting range, which is just too damn cool.
Aiden used to be scared of guns. In his dreams, now and then, he still is. But he's learned that knowledge is power, and he's learning to handle weaponry that would scare the punks from his old neighborhood absolutely shitless. He's been reading up on the theory of it, as well, and it's interesting; all the different cartridges, with their different purposes, and he can't wait until he gets to try incendiaries. And explosives are just gonna be fun.
So maybe the others are frowning under their mudmasks. Aiden's gonna keep on smiling.
And if the gleam of his teeth catches the sergeant's attention, well, that ain't gonna hurt his chances.