Sometimes John's father would run through fields with him, or spin in circles until they fell down, or laugh a little too loudly at knock-knock jokes. Sometimes he wouldn't. Sometimes he'd just say hush, or frown a little when John tugged at his sleeve, or tell John to go find his mother. And John would, and the two of them would sneak off together, but he wondered why his father seemed almost to be two different people.
He never actually asked, though, and eventually he grew old enough to understand the meaning of a uniform. But that small, hurt, questioning why didn't ever quite go away.
For a while he used it as an excuse to not do things he wasn't interested in anyway--getting trashed in a bar was never his idea of fun, no matter who it was with--but eventually it occurred to him that his father, if no one else, would probably consider even that disrespect for what the uniform meant, so he learned the art of ducking out the back room of a bar once everyone else was too drunk to notice, and tried to find a better set of people to hang out with.
He didn't complain. He didn't ever complain, or show his wounds, or ever let on how many blisters the seams rubbed raw where no one could see. His childhood hero had worn armor, and so did he--though cut from cloth instead of beaten out of metal. And perhaps his tongue grew a little sharp in compensation, and perhaps his back bent a little beneath the weight, but he couldn't let anyone see how ill the thing fit. (Or perhaps: how ill he fit it.)
It probably wasn't exactly kosher to flip a coin on the choice of whether or not to volunteer for a jaunt to an alien city in another galaxy, but he couldn't decide on his own--had felt almost paralyzed by both alternatives, so that he sat for a very long moment without even breathing, until his body took over to avoid suffocation. And although his childhood faith had nearly died with his mother, he still remembered the custom the Israelites had had of casting lots when the decision was beyond them.
Well. He shot his commanding officer. After that, what worse could he do? (Besides betray his entire world, or abandon the people whose safety now depended on him; what worse, indeed.)