Being a clone sucked ass. Especially when deep down you didn't feel like a clone. You felt like you. Like you had always felt. Except now you were a 50-something-old-Colonel trapped in a 16 year old body. And except for the fact that the original version of yourself was still out there living the life you had thought was yours.
If only that mikta of an Asgard hadn't screwed up, the newly named John O'Neill thought about a hundred times a day. If he'd been an exact duplicate of Colonel Jack O'Neill in his admittedly aged but fairly presentable adult body then maybe he'd have a chance at some kind of normal life. He could have finally retired someplace peaceful where the fishing was good and spent the rest of his life pouring beer onto his barbeque. He could have pretended that it didn't matter that he wasn't the Real O'Neill. In fact, he could have written it off as a good thing. The world still needed an O'Neill to save it. And he wouldn't have had to be the O'Neill to do it.
Alas, the looking like a teenager thing made any kind of normality a non-issue. He couldn't pretend he was Jack O'Neill – even if he still felt like him. It messed with his head so badly. None of his memories even belonged to him. All his knowledge and experiences. His hopes and dreams and loves and losses. None of it belonged to him. None of it had truly happened to him. It had all just been downloaded into his head by the screwed up alien who'd created him. And out there was that damn Jack O'Neill. The Real One. Whilst he was the anomaly, the freak, the failed lab experiment… the nobody.
Who was he? What was he to do with his life? And who the bloody hell cared anyway? Certainly not the airforce it seemed. Sure, they'd set him up with new papers and set his status as an emancipated minor so at least he could live on his own and all that. And that promise that sometime in that murky distant future that he'd be allowed to re-join the airforce when he was old enough. Well, whoopee. Since then the most support or even contact with the airforce was the monthly cheques that were fairly commensurate with what his retirement pension would have been.
Not that he knew what else they could have done. It's not like there were support groups for people who discovered they were clones. It was amazing that he hadn't already gone whacko and just flipped out or something. His whole life was a lie. Everything had been taken away from him. He had nothing. He was nothing.
Most of the time he could force himself not to think about it. Focus on the task at hand. Which happened to be re-living high school. It was actually quite enjoyable if he put his mind to it. He wasn't some inexperienced messed-up kid. He was an experienced, confident, messed-up adult. The usual teenage angst was behind him. High school was a breeze.
The classes were so much simpler the second time around. He was used to getting the job done and prioritising his time. Teachers and exams and homework were all so much less daunting after everything he'd seen and done in his borrowed former lifetime. He understood where the teachers' point of view and therefore was able to interact with them in a way that kept them out of his hair for the most part. They all thought he was a very sensible and mature young man. Very reasonable and calm. What a joke. Staying calm was almost impossible when dealing with adults who treated him like a kid whilst also dealing with all the stupid teenage crap going on around him. The petty meaningless high school dramas. Some days it was all he could do to stop himself from exploding.
Best to not think about it. Use what he knew to make the best of it. To use his novel perspective to make the system work for him. His grades were good and he was surprised to find he was actually enjoying the refresher in subjects he'd already taken and the challenge of some new material as well.
And he was popular. Way popular. He hadn't really set out to be. It just happened. Other kids thought he was cool. Because he didn't care what anyone thought of him. Decades of practice had honed his sarcastic wit to a fine edge. Oh, and there was the fact that anyone who messed with him – or dared to pick on someone else in his presence – got a special helping of black ops manoeuvres that were virtually undetectable by any authority figures who happened to be passing by. Painful but no blood or permanent damage done – just enough to get the message across. Oh yes, he was very cool.
The girls adored him. They practically swooned. They loved how he didn't get all nervous and weird and macho around them. He was straight in his dealings with them. Unfortunately, that was usually explaining to them gently that he wasn't interested in them romantically. Somehow, miraculously they mostly went away from one of those little chats, teary-eyed but self-esteem completely intact and even more devoted to him.
It was like he'd become everyone's big brother. Protector, advisor and wise counsellor in the ways of the world. Every time he thought about it he felt like laughing his ass off. However, he couldn't help but be proud of certain statistical changes since his arrival at this school. The instances of bullying, teen suicides, drug problems and so on had decreased dramatically – and in the case of bullying it had been practically abolished. He was in command of this 'unit' and crap like that was not permitted on his watch.
But no-one really knew him. No-one knew what the guy they often referred to as "Johnny O" really thought or felt or who he really was deep down. He had no real connections to anyone. The Real O'Neill had agreed that there should be no contact between them. It was too weird. Carter, he never saw. She had never been any good when things turned awkward. Hell, neither had he. Ah, but if he'd been over the age of consent, he so would have seduced that woman. Even if only to screw things around for good ol' Real O'Neill. Now that would have been the very definition of awkward.
Teal'c showed up at his place every now and then. They'd play chess, watch DVDs, the usual. It never seemed to bother Teal'c that he was hanging out with a teenage clone of his friend but then nothing really fazed the big guy. Of course, he wasn't much of a conversationalist. Still it was nice just for those few hours to feel like everything was as it should be. Just him and T kicking back while off-duty. Same old, same old.
Daniel's visits were what John really lived for though. Daniel brought real conversation and detailed news of the goings-on of John's usurped life. Daniel listened to everything about John's new life and offered advice and support when needed. Daniel took him seriously. Daniel treated him like the adult he really was. Best of all, Daniel bought him beer.
Let me know what you think... not sure where I'm going with this exactly... it just popped in my head and demanded to be written...