Jan. 2nd, 2011 07:44 pm
kisahawklin: John actually plays his guitar? (SGA: john guitar)
[personal profile] kisahawklin posting in [community profile] prospectus
This is doppelganger fic. I started it based on a really cool dream I had, but then two or three doppelganger fics came out, and then the episode Doppelganger, and that was kind of the end of this story.

Major Lorne is reporting in, ma’am," Chuck announced. Sam winced at the ma’am, but went into the control room to take the report.

"Yes, Lorne?" Sam asked.

"Is Colonel Sheppard in Atlantis at the moment?" Lorne asked, and there was a beat where Sam tried to figure out why he’d need to know before she answered.

"Not exactly," she said, "he’s out with his team scouting the mainland."

"He’s definitely not off-world, though?"

"No, Major."

There was a pause, and Sam caught some mumbling that meant someone without a radio was talking to Lorne. "Permission to bring a guest back to Atlantis, ma’am," Lorne asked, and Sam hated having to be the heavy.

"I’m sorry, Major, but you know the rules."

"Ma’am, it’s Major John Sheppard," Lorne says, and Sam can feel the blood drain from her face.

"I’m sorry, Major, but it’s still no. Are you safe at the moment?"

"Yes," Lorne answered, "but I don’t think they will be pleased when they figure out we sprung the person who lights up their toys out of jail."

"All right," Sam said. "You make a convincing argument. You can bring him through."

Sam nodded to the marines, and they aimed their guns at the gate. Lorne walked through, and right behind him, Major John Sheppard.


He doesn’t look like John, Rodney thought. Not just the brush cut, either. He sat up straight, held himself in, looked warily at everything around him.

Sheppard was in Sam’s office firing questions at himself. He started with innocuous memories from Atlantis and then his childhood, but it quickly degenerated into personal information and private memories, and the team filed out. Major John Sheppard was quietly obedient, answering every question, not even indicating which ones bothered him.

"He doesn’t smell like Sheppard," Ronon said, and Rodney opened his mouth to answer with a witty retort when Teyla backed Ronon up.

"No, he does not."

"What?" Rodney asked, unable to fathom why the man’s aftershave should make a difference. "So he doesn’t wear Aqua Velva, what difference could that possibly make?"

Ronon and Teyla exchanged a glance and looked at Rodney with those irritatingly knowing smiles. "Oh, what? Is it because he’s been living on uncivilized planet number six thousand and twenty one, eating some weird berries for the last year?"

Sheppard opened the door, and they waited for him to say something. "He’s me, all right, but with… some differences. Not just ones from Atlantis, either, his childhood was… not like mine."

"What are we supposed to call him?" Ronon asked, and Rodney hadn’t even thought of that.

"JJ," John answered. He looked vaguely uncomfortable for a moment, and then apparently decided to be forthcoming. "Our middle name is James, and we had an uncle who used to call us that. He likes it."

"Okay," Rodney said, and moved on to a safer subject. "Where did he come from? How did he get to this universe?"

"He flew through some strange space turbulence in a jumper," John said. "He saw a flash of white, and the next thing he remembers is crashing on the planet where we rescued him. You can ask him more when it’s your turn."

"My turn?" Rodney asked, and John smiled humorlessly.

"Since, as my team, you all know me the best," John said, "I’d appreciate it if you’d each take some time with him and report back to me. Teyla, Ronon, feel free to train with him, test his skills. Rodney, ask him about the ‘strange phenomenon,’ his version of the jumper, you know. Stuff that will help us get him back where he belongs."

Rodney didn’t think that JJ belonged anywhere, judging by the look of him, but he kept his mouth shut.


JJ looked around the office. It looked like Elizabeth’s, but not really. The art pieces were missing, and something else, too. Something more personal.

He was tempted to turn around and watch the colonel speak with his team. Two aliens! Dr. McKay! Who let him make up such a ridiculous team? How did they get anything accomplished? McKay’s bickering alone would have gotten him killed more times than he can count, but to have two people whose reactions you can’t possibly know, who you can’t trust to follow an order? He couldn’t fathom it.

The alien woman – Teyla – came in first. She was pleasant, possibly a diplomat, judging by how she phrased her questions. Perhaps she could be useful off-world after all. She only kept him in Elizabeth’s office for a few minutes, and then led him on a tour of an Atlantis whose hallways he knew intimately, but whose rooms he suddenly didn’t know at all. He redrew his mental map as she led him through the corridors.

The infirmary first; here it was several floors up from his Atlantis. He was looking forward to seeing Carson again, he really missed him. There was no Carson, though, instead some woman named Dr. Keller, who looked nice and proclaimed him fit after an hour of poking, prodding, scanning, and sticking for blood.

They stopped long enough to get him some clothes and assign him a room (right next to Colonel Sheppard, which made him feel slightly more confident in his ability to lead the military portion of this expedition), and after he changed, she took him to an empty room with a lot of sticks in it.

Teyla handed him a pair of the sticks and took two herself.

"I’m sorry, ma’am," he said, making sure to keep his sticks lowered, unthreatening, "I don’t fight girls."

"I am a woman, JJ," Teyla answered, "and if you must, then you can simply defend yourself. But I encourage you to attack."

Defend himself? Against a woman he could break over his knee? He kept his sticks low. She swatted his arm once, hard, and the sting made him change his mind and put his sticks up. He stood like that, stiff, until she lunged for him. She was fast. She hit him more times than he blocked, and he could feel bruises forming already. He decided he’d have to be a little more vigorous in his defense, and crouched into a lower position. That helped, but on the second flurry of blows she still landed four or five home, including one on his ass when he turned to get out of the way of a blow to his head.

JJ wanted to drop the sticks, concede defeat and go back to his newly assigned quarters for a shower and fifty hours of sleep, but it wasn’t his call, so he raised his sticks and crouched, and did his best to defend himself.

Teyla beat the crap out of him for forty-five minutes before Ronon showed up, and JJ had to shut his eyes for a moment to get himself under control and agree to spar with Ronon. The guy was huge; JJ was pretty sure he was on the team to provide muscle, which, great, that’s useful, but a marine did just as well, and followed orders without question. There was nothing about Ronon that said he would take orders.

He might have been able to defend himself against Ronon if he hadn’t been beaten half to death by Teyla beforehand. He dutifully took up his stance after every time Ronon knocked him down, though it took longer and longer each time he landed on the mat.

"What are you doing?" he heard McKay say, and he had never been so glad to hear McKay’s voice in his entire life. "Sheppard said test him, not beat him to a bloody pulp!"

JJ opened his eyes and looked up at the two men arguing. Ronon reached down and grabbed his arm, yanking him up to standing. He fought to keep his feet under himself, and barely managed it.

Ronon nodded to him, presumably as a way of saying goodbye, because he left the room. McKay looked him up and down, and JJ was surprised to see a look of compassion on his face.

"Are you hungry?" McKay asked, and JJ suddenly hated the fact that the only people he seemed to know in this Atlantis were himself – a rather shitty version of himself, all told – and McKay.

"Starving," JJ answered, and seized upon the familiarity of this one person.

"I’ll escort you back to your room so you can shower and change, and then we can go to the mess and discuss what idiotic thing you did to bring you here."

JJ couldn’t help a smile at that. Just like his McKay.


Over dinner, they discussed more about quantum physics than he had ever managed before. He did well in classes, even had a brain for numbers, but the scientists never talked about their work with the military in his Atlantis. They didn’t talk at all, most of the time. Looking out across the mess, he could see groups of people, all of them intermingled. In his Atlantis, the soldiers all ate at once, at one long table, and the scientists came and went in shifts, whenever their genius brains informed them they needed food or they’d pass out.

JJ could see John sitting with Teyla, Ronon, and Colonel Carter, who they had informed him was in charge of Atlantis. He wanted to ask about it, but no one had given him permission to speak freely yet, and he wasn’t sure how much speaking he was allowed outside of answering the rapid-fire questions from McKay.

This McKay had the irritating genius edge to him, the smug ‘I save the universe’ attitude, but there was something else, some slight concern for people other than himself that JJ couldn’t reconcile with his McKay. The McKay in his universe butted heads with Colonel Sumner three or four times daily, and they were probably responsible for fully half the enmity between the military and civilian populations. Both the military and the scientists were fiercely loyal to their leaders. Elizabeth was amazing for many reasons, but the biggest in JJ’s mind was that she could keep them from all-out war.

McKay wasn’t military. JJ wondered if it would be okay to ask him questions. He really wanted to know if Colonel Carter was really so different from Elizabeth that Atlantis worked this way.

"Do you like Colonel Carter?" JJ asked, and immediately regretted his decision when Rodney nearly choked on the mouthful of bread he was chewing.

"Excuse me?" Rodney said, and there, that was the edge of annoyance in his voice that had been missing.

"I’m sorry," JJ said, but plowed on. "It’s just that this Atlantis is very different from mine, and I have to assume it’s because your leader is Colonel Carter and ours is Dr. Weir."

Rodney coughed again, and JJ was pretty sure he wasn’t choking, so he started eating again, figuring his question was somehow too personal, or he wasn’t allowed any information about this Atlantis.

"Elizabeth… she’s…."

"You had a Dr. Weir?" JJ wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. "What happened to her?"


"Who else did you have?"

Rodney paled, and JJ realized they must have had quite a few more casualties than his expedition. "Colonel Sumner?" JJ asked. Rodney nodded. "Dr. Beckett?" Another nod. JJ didn’t feel well.

"I think I need some sleep," JJ said.

"Of course," Rodney said, with that same odd compassionate look. "Do you need me to take you back to your room, or can you find it on your own?"

"I’m fine," JJ said, and he had a feeling that McKay was as relieved as he was when they parted company.


John wasn’t really paying attention to the gossipy banter about JJ. He listened to the quips, some about him, some about the other Sheppard, but he was watching Rodney with JJ, explaining things like he always did, not letting JJ talk except for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or other one-word answers. Then JJ said something and Rodney went white as a sheet. John almost got up to go over to their table, but it was only another second and JJ was standing, stomping off toward the living quarters, his marine escort following at a not-so-discreet distance.

McKay stayed at his table for a while, staring down at his food, though John was pretty sure he was somewhere far away in his mind. Finally he looked up and John motioned him over.

As soon as Rodney joined the table, the conversation got a lot more serious. The jibes stopped and they all looked to John for guidance to set the tone of the informal meeting.

"Okay, so Ronon, you think he’s probably all right with hand to hand but doesn’t train on a regular basis. Teyla, you got the same. Either of you two get anything else about him? Trustworthy, smart, loyal?"

"Are you fishing for compliments?" Sam asked, and John had to remind himself to keep calm and not take it personally.

"Yes, I want to know if my alter ego is a dick. He seems to think I am," John added, pissed off at the slip as soon as the words were out of his mouth.

"Elizabeth is still alive in his universe," Rodney said quietly. "Carson and Colonel Sumner too."

John blinked. The table was silent, and now John knew why JJ thought he was a dick.

"Oh." John took a deep breath. "So is there any way to get him back to where he came from?"

Rodney scoffed, and John knew that in the range of scoffs, this was somewhere around ‘I hadn’t actually thought about it.’ "Of course, it’s up to the genius. Why don’t we want to keep him here? Aren’t two Sheppards better than one?"

John smiled. Rodney had never said anything, because Rod was still Rodney McKay, and somehow his intelligence reflected on Rodney in some sick, twisted way, but he knew that Rod was not a genius of Rodney’s epic proportions. Having Rod around wouldn’t have been nearly as useful as having another Rodney. JJ was much the same, helpful, but not as useful as having a duplicate of himself. Not to mention, he didn’t particularly like JJ and his accusing eyes, so yes, he wanted him to go back to his own space-time whatever.

"Yes," John said, stretching the word out, "but I’m pretty sure he hates it here, and he hates me, and I’m not exactly sure he could stand having himself as his superior officer."

"Well," Rodney starts, oblivious to the fact that John had spoken, "if he came through a naturally occurring wormhole, it might be possible to see if it left a… a… imprint, or a signature, or something."

"Then what?" John asked, and Rodney glared at him.

"I thought we could dance the tango and ask the sun gods to send JJ back through."

John chuckled, a brief acknowledgement of Rodney’s tantrum. Before he could offer Rodney a rose and red dress, Sam spoke up.

"What about one of the gates we harvested?" she asked. "If we could find the signature and –"

"Yes yes yes yes yes," Rodney said, snapping his fingers. "If we could attune it to the wormhole’s imprint, we could –"

"Fly him home," John finished.

"Technically, he could fly himself home," Rodney corrected, and John rolled his eyes. Trust Rodney to argue semantics so he could have the last word.


John and his team took JJ to the planet where he was held captive for a month before Lorne’s team rescued him, thinking he was Colonel Sheppard. The jumper pulled through the gate, up and away from the planet, and JJ sat in the rear of the jumper, listening to the team talk. They were good together.

"Do you see anything, Rodney?" John asked, and JJ smirked, as he knew the Colonel would get an earful for reminding McKay of his job.

Watching himself smirk under that mop of messy hair was disconcerting. Was he gay in this universe? Did something happen to screw him up so badly he didn’t even recognize himself? JJ shook his head and kept his mouth shut. It was only when he looked up that he found himself being scrutinized by Teyla. He was okay with that; she was beautiful, strong, and smart, and able to deal with these men and anything that threatened them. She was also a master at making everyone feel comfortable, and she spoke to him in low tones that the others either couldn’t hear or purposefully ignored.

"I’ve got something," Rodney said, and JJ felt the relief open up his chest. He hadn’t realized how tense he had been about being able to go home.

"What is it?" JJ asked, and Ronon looked back at him, as if he had forgotten JJ was riding along.

Rodney looked confused for a moment, glancing at the colonel before turning around to look at JJ. "I’ve got readings {HALLO, ENDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A SENTENCE AGAIN *facepalm*)


When JJ opens his door, he is clearly awake under duress. He has bags under his eyes and is glaring at Rodney with a familiar look of loathing.

"I’m sorry, Major Sheppard, but we are under time constraints. We need to find where you came into this universe to see if we can use the signature of the phenomena to reopen the wormhole via stargate and send you home."

JJ had become increasingly more alert as Rodney spoke, and by the time he finished the sentence, he had gone back into the room to throw on clothes. Rodney stepped out of the doorway and let it shut, waiting for JJ to reappear.

"Is it so much worse than your universe?" Rodney asked, quietly. "When my alternate self came, he seemed to like it here."

"There are good things about this Atlantis," JJ answered, concentrating on his shoes as they walked the halls to the jumper bay. "But mine is a lot less terrifying."

Rodney sniffed. "That’s part of our charm."

JJ didn’t laugh. "It doesn’t bother you that the Colonel is such a screw-up?"

"Sheppard isn’t a screw-up," Rodney sputtered. "He’s saved my life more times than I count. Not that I don’t return the favor. Still, it tends to be more theoretical when I save everyone’s lives. Science isn’t as impressive-looking as death-defying flying or shooting things. Unless you’re blowing things up, in which case science clearly wins."

JJ smiled at that, but he still looked thoughtful, and Rodney wasn’t sure what to say to comfort him. "Honestly, the colonel is better than you give him credit for. He’s a hero to most of us around here."

"He wouldn’t have to be, if he hadn’t screwed things up in the first place," JJ said, and Rodney had nothing to say in response to that.


They cloaked the jumper and went through the gate to the planet where JJ had been held captive. The civilization was moderately technically advanced; more than the Genii but less than the Asurans. Rodney doubted they had enough technology to realize anyone had come through the gate, much less a cloaked jumper.

As soon as they cleared atmosphere, Rodney was snapping his fingers in excitement. "It’s right there, you must have skimmed the atmosphere as you pulled through, and that’s what caused you to crash," Rodney said.

JJ nodded. "I don’t remember anything after going through the wormhole."

Rodney checked a few more calculations on the display. "The signature is pretty degraded," Rodney said. "How long ago did this happen?"

"I don’t know, exactly," JJ said. "A couple of weeks? No more than a month."

looking for the signature - Sheppard, McKay, and JJ - signature has eroded

McKay, Zelenka, and JJ, doing calculations and running simulations/Sheppard and Sam, positioning gate/JJ montage

JJ in jumper, can't get the gate to initialize, signature is too weak, McKay decides they need to get to JJ's crashed jumper, something about readouts, etc etc etc

Whole team this time goes down to the planet, they scan for the jumper, which is crashed not too far from the village where JJ was held captive.

Rodney spends a while in the jumper, their jumpers are cloaked, the team is on watch. The villagers come by, surround the team with guns, Sheppard goes with them to keep Teyla and Ronon from getting shot. JJ wants to offer himself and Rodney holds him back.

Ronon and Teyla go back to the gate to bring in a rescue team, Rodney and JJ stay on the planet, working on the science.

Rodney hooks up the two jumpers and does some cool thing, JJ is impressed, also they have the brief sort of heart to heart Rodney has when he's too busy to notice he should shut his mouth.

Ronon and Teyla return with Lorne and his team. They climb into the jumpers (Rodney drives Sheppard's) and go off to rescue Sheppard.

Sheppard is in a prison, smugly ignoring the fact that he's been captured, making snarky small talk with his guards.

Three jumpers go to town, Ronon opens the back door and drops down, stunning the three guards and springing John. Rodney lands and lets John take over the jumper. They take off for the wormhole. It dials and JJ flies through.


Date: 2011-01-03 08:27 am (UTC)
cesare: A cute cartoon of John Sheppard asleep (sga - j&r - sleeping john by chkc)
From: [personal profile] cesare
Innnnteresting. I started a doppelganger fic I've abandoned myself, and I went the opposite direction-- instead of being more conventional and strict than canon Sheppard, the alternate was even more seat-of-his-pants.

How much of this was in your dream, if you remember?

Date: 2011-01-03 04:30 pm (UTC)
kate: Kate Winslet is wryly amused (Default)
From: [personal profile] kate
Hahaha, none of it was in my dream. The dream was actually kind of lolzy/adventure-y, not at all like this. And I'd love to read yours too! I love doppelganger fics for exactly this reason; seeing what the characters could be, and how they react to themselves.


pro⋅spec⋅tus: [pruh-spek-tuhs] --<i>noun</i>

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