Authors Note: This hasn't been beta-read so I apologize if it has grammar/spelling errors in or if the characters sound a bit off. Please let me know what you think of this, complaints, suggestions; any feedback would be helpful as long as it is constructive.

Thanks to NotANumber for motivation and an evil plot kitty that you'll all be seeing in the future of this story.

Spoilers: For Season One episodes 1-14 probably.

Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Stargate in any incarnations of course and I'm not making any money, this is just some harmless fanfic fun.


Chapter 4: Much ado about nothing

Aiden peered round the corner, his heart beat skipping as he saw his target. He swerved back round, pressing him back to the wall and waiting until the footsteps sounded far enough away to follow.

One, two, three, four, five...

All clear, he padded down the next hall before hiding behind a bulkhead, a good vantage point for checking the new area to move on further.

It was a neat trail, deeper into the city, far away from everyone else and the city's daily activities. The whole of E-section was practically silent, making the mission difficult.

Ford grinned because that's what made it fun, a challenge to his training, involving a worthy adversary. Besides that he couldn't resist checking their suspicious behaviour out, especially after this morning.
And because he intended to get to the bottom of things.

He still had that feeling he couldn't shake, that all of this only confirmed.
Quentin was up to something and he'd find out what it was very shortly.

The last stretch was the hardest, devoid of hiding places should Quentin hear a noise and come to investigate.
As he closed in on Quentin's position he twitched his nose. What was that smell? It was familiar but long forgotten, hidden away in his memory.
Ignoring the sensation he swung round to look through the door into the ancient, supposedly disused, lab.

He gaped at the scene in front of him,Quentin in the middle of it all. The scientist looked up at Ford's silent form and scowled in his usual foul way.
"You realise what you've done don't you? No one was meant to know about this, not yet anyway."
Ford stood in shock, blinking rapidly, unable to say a word let alone tell a soul of what he'd exposed.


He ran as fast as he could. Wanting to get away from the disaster that seemed to grow, the problem spreading like a disease, creeping like Quentin did. Turning them all against him one by one.

For everyone else Quentin was him, just like him but that bit different that made him somehow unquantifiably better than his original. An improvement over him.

What was it?
Was his smile somehow more symmetrical? He'd read a paper that once suggested that symmetry was perceived as beauty, in which case he'd presumed his smile was about as ugly as it could get at best with it's lopsidedness.

Did he know more than him? It was unlikely even if Quentin did have more spare time. Sheppard had said he was a lab runner. Probably meant he fixed all those nagging things that he'd never bothered with and had assigned to others. The small things people appreciated. Nice for Quentin that he had the time to earn favours.

And then there was the way Quentin twisted everyone around his little finger without them minding.
Using subtlety rather than usual blunt force honesty that he preferred.

He couldn't figure out the man even though he was thinking about himself.

Everything should have made sense except that Quentin was different, different particles, different interactions. A completely new man who happened to have his memories and look just like him. Same chemistry, same body, same mind – until life, the universe and particle interactions interfered and they became two distinct people – alike enough to hate each other for infringing on each's territory.

Maybe it was unfair to treat it like a competition, what Elizabeth had said had had wisdom in it that was finally sinking in but he didn't want to admit it. He sighed and stepped off the lone treadmill their gym had and trudged out of the room towards his quarters to change.

Coming out of his room he saw a gaggle of people all trussed up. He followed them curious of what was going on. If he didn't know better he would have said they were going to a party but surely he'd know if that was true.

As he struggled to catch up with them he felt more and more annoyed. They were heading to the mess hall as far as he could tell but he had to stop to compose himself.

He should have felt good after the exercise. That was one of the reasons why he'd done some for once. It couldn't help to be fitter than Quentin, prove his worth on AR-1 and to get that edge over Quentin on looks too. He only had geeky shirts but he might as well look good in them. Plus there had been a vague remembrance of Carson saying something once about endorphins released after exercise, making you happy and relaxed and he'd thought why not. Sleep hadn't come easily and he had become far too stressed lately. All in all the idea had seemed fitting at the time, in his angry state of mind.

Now as he approached the mess hall he regretted it but soon forgot his tired aching as he saw what the fuss had been about.
It wasn't so much a party as a feast.
Everything they'd had rationed lately was spread out in great abandon, dishes piled high.

His eyes were wide and wild at the plentiful display until he caught site of Quentin standing off to one side, who waved in mock pleasantness upon seeing him before going back to listening to Sheppard. Ford stood by the pair, looking a little guilty to be there as he noticed Rodney, but quickly making his way over to explain.

"Dr. McKay." he said meekly, seeking forgiveness he wasn't getting right this minute.
"Ford." Rodney replied formally.

One by one Quentin got to them.
He'd thought Ford was immune to that charm but it seemed not to be true after all.
Rodney stood there saying nothing, leaving Ford silent and hopefully repenting.

Then he remembered, the food awaited.
He strode over to the table, taking a handful of crisps. He tasted one first, satisfied that it was real enough before he attacked the rest of the buffet with the plate he'd picked up from the thankfully provided stack in the middle of the table.

He was vaguely conscious that Ford had tagged along with him and that he was talking about Quentin. Not quite about how wonderful Quentin was for providing the feast, or about how clever Quentin was for figuring out the machine but it was slowly taking hold of ford and Rodney didn't doubt it would work eventually. Because that hope he'd had for someone, anyone noticing was flailing. After all if Quentin could get to Elizabeth then how was anyone else a problem.

There was a part of him that wanted to kick himself for not thinking to work on the machine but he hadn't wanted to considering what it had done to him. Besides that it hadn't been a priority since they had determined there was nothing to do over this except accept that there was two of him. What else could they do? Elizabeth had made it clear they couldn't dump him anywhere, that he was him and they had a responsibility. She'd said it was a risk they all took that the unexpected could happen when working with Ancient technology but he bet no one had thought of exactly this when deciding if it was worth it.

Ford was still talking but he zoned out as he went in the direction of the few empty tables, nibbling on one of the snacks as he walked.

They happened to be quite close to Quentin and Sheppard and as he walked past he stopped in his tracks at what he heard.

He couldn't comprehend the words totally until it hit him. That was how he did it. The jerk was wiling to practically sell his soul to make 'friends'. There was no other explanation for why he'd say such deprecating things about hockey. He'd never ask about football in his life. Who cared about such an idiotic gung-ho lets get out brains and ones smashed out sport. Now hockey was a sport that required skill and something every Canadians could be proud of.

Then came the digs at Canada. From Quentin's own mouth.
Sheppard looked briefly confused but it didn't stop him chuckling when he saw Quentin was too.

He felt his grip on the plate tighten painfully.
It was unbelievable. The son of a ...didn't deserve to be called McKay or wear the flag on his arm.

Ford seemed to put his hand on his shoulder, concerned at his behaviour as he stared at Sheppard and 'McKay'.
And another thing. Quentin moved to punch Sheppard on the arm in an oddly matey gesture.
He was all but flirting with Sheppard. Or at least the male non-sexual equivalent. There was probably a word for it but he'd never known nor needed to know what it was. It was sickening to watch. If this was what Quentin was like with Sheppard then what did he do with others, or even Elizabeth, when he wasn't around?

Rodney still stared, less and less aware of the feeling in his hand and on his arm where Ford now gripped, just about reading to shake him.
Then his vision glazed over, barely enough time for a thought as every sensation was lost in blackness.

In amongst the noisy atmosphere of the gathering here was a distinct smash of the plate as it hit the ground, covering up the thud of Rodney's body as it hit the floor.


A/N: Evil I know but things will get better next chapter, oh so briefly better at least.