sga au

fic: My Dead Child [sga au]

John's world comes to pieces.

Stargate: Atlantis belongs to someone else.

*

My Dead Child
by Brat Farrar

The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child,
Met his own image walking in the garden.

by an unknown poet



And everybody’s dead, and there’s joke that goes like that, and his brain keeps fishing for the punchline, the way a scratched record keeps skipping back to the same spot. John’s never felt this fragile before, even when Deb left him, and so he stays curled up on the floor, trying not to shatter.

He’s going to be court-martialed for this, drummed out, and he deserves it—deserves to be stripped of his wings. Except he can’t be, can he? Deb saw to that. And she’s been gone for years now, so that thought really shouldn't hurt so much.

His eyes are watering, but he can’t tell whether it’s from grief or the after-affects of shock. He shuts them, but that just gives him a better view of his memories, so he opens them again.

When he does, his own face is looking down at him—or rather, his doppelganger, his shadow-self. He half wishes it would speak, would tell him that everything will be all right, but he knows it won’t. And even if it did, he wouldn’t believe it. Things are never all right. Not for him.

“Hey,” he croaks at it after they spend a minute staring at each other, and for a moment he thinks it’s going to cry. He’s never realized before how funny his face looks when it’s all screwed up like that. “Don’t worry about me. The most they’ll do is ship me home.” Except Deb’s gone, and his grandparents are dead, and there isn’t really any home left for him to go to. “So nothing to worry about.” Which is patently false, but the thing’s face relaxes into a less distressed expression. And just how messed up is this situation? Here he is, a certain black mark on his career, and he’s comforting his doppelganger, which has never said a word to him.

He wonders vaguely sometimes if its silence means that there’s something wrong with him, but at the moment, all he really cares about is having a sympathetic face around. And while he’s always really wished it would speak, he’s heard about the kind of advice doppelgangers are reputed to give, so maybe it’s just as well his never has. John’s enough of a screw-up as it is.

“Hey,” he says again for no particular reason. “Nothing to worry about.” Too bad he knows better than to believe himself.

*


This is one of many attempts (at least eight) at an entry for the doppelganger challenge over at sga_flashfic, but I ended up submitting something a little longer and less depressing, with a more traditional doppelganger. Still, there's something about this one that I kind of like. It doesn't quite fit with the other John stories, so best to think of it as an AU of an AU.
I read this set of fics, even though I don't even know if Stargate: Atlantis is a book or a movie or what, but I really like it. They're crazy different from your other writing, and I think it's interesting. You drop lovely words in nice places, and weave pretty metaphors.
Stargate: Atlantis is a tv show where you have a small, multi-national - not really colony, but sort of - from modern earth who've gone off to another galaxy (through a set of controlled wormholes called 'stargates') to the city of Atlantis which was abandoned a long time ago and is maybe-kinda-sort intelligent. John is an US Air Force pilot who wound up as military commander over the US marines stationed there.

It's a completely science fiction universe, but I wanted to give him wings, wound up sticking him (and the rest of the show) into Corbel & Squinch's universe, and the combo is in the process of eating my brain. But it's also kick-started c&s again, so it's all good.
Me too. I was getting a bit worried - I'd drag it out ever now and then, poke it, and nothing would happen. Severest case of writer's block I can remember having. But I actually wrote a couple hundred words for it last night - haven't managed that in months.

Makes me very happy.
Oh - now that's a cool and somewhat mind-bendy way to look at it. That's - *thinks about it for a minute* That could actually work, I think. If John's doppelganger didn't manifest until his screw-up, then yeah, he never would have said anything to before that. And the doppelganger might not have realized which one it was (or maybe it wasn't really there until the shock of the incident sort of split it off from him?), so of course it would think of itself as the original.

Cool. I never would have considered that possibility on my own.
You know, I really like the idea of kingfisher-John's doppelganger. He seemed more menacing in the other story (no doubt, because of how John was feeling), but...I like the thought that he's never entirely alone, that he has someone he can talk to when he can't bear other people's company.
I actually wrote two versions of that part of Sharp and Sided Hail, with two very different takes on his relationship with the doppelganger. The other one is here, and is a bit more in line with the various folklore about doppelgangers.
Ah, I see what you mean. The different version doesn't change John, just the doppelganger itself...both work well with the scene, and both make me feel...moody. =P I just love your writing!