Oh god I just looked at the convo on @vickjawn’s blog about Morrison clones and I had this thought like

What if the UN made clones of Jack when he was leading Overwatch? He’d get killed or mortally wounded on a mission and they’d just thaw one out, tweak it’s memories, and send it out there believing it was the real one and nobody is aware. Sometimes Morrison comes back fatally injured and they know he can’t be healed or that the wounds would leave him permanently out of action so they quietly kill the clone and replace it with a new one to keep their pretty little poster boy in top shape.

Gabe has no idea until a joint mission between OW and BW where he is so certain that he just watched Jack die. Jack is full of holes and Gabe holds him in his arms as he’s choking and drowning in his own blood, and he’s begging Jack to hold on and screaming for the medics to arrive as Jack weakly mumbles apologies for everything leading to this point. He knows he saw the light leave Jack’s eyes and he’ll never get the sound of that last dying breath out of his mind. The medics arrive too late and take Jack’s body away.

But then they get back to base and there’s no talk of Jack’s death. No memorial, no funeral. Nobody promoted in his place. If he brings it up he just gets blank looks like he’s lost his mind. Then a few weeks later he sees Jack wandering the halls and Gabe drags him somewhere private, running his hands over Jack’s chest that he KNOWS was riddled with bullets before. He’s rattling of question after question. How are you here? How did you survive? He saw Jack die and while he’s happy that Jack is here he knows that he shouldn’t be.

Jack just stares at him hopelessly confused, asking Gabe what the hell he’s talking about. Gabe tells him about Jack dying in his arms and Jack reveals that he doesn’t remember much of anything from the end of the mission. He remembers getting shot, then waking up in the infirmary. He doesn’t remember Gabe’s panicked screaming or his own whispered apologies. He doesn’t remember the tears on his former lover’s face. They part ways after that, their minds burning with questions and no answers.

Jack spends hours staring at himself in the mirror that night. As great as Mercy’s healing tech is it isn’t perfect. Something like that should have left scars.

His skin is worryingly smooth.

this dovetails pretty easily into brainwashed Jack, too, tbh. if they can tweak his memories, if they can take a body and make it think it’s Jack Morrison, if they’ve done this however many times now–

the deeper Gabriel gets into the UN conspiracy, the further Reaper tears it apart, the more and more he understands– it wasn’t about them. he wonders, desperate; when did they first replace him? when did Jack stop being his Jack, when did they take some stranger and put it in his place, a copy so perfect they both thought it was the same? would they have fallen apart, if it wasn’t a clone? what strings were they even pulling?

(Soldier: 76 has learned some things since he woke up in the rubble of the Swiss HQ, new body falling apart, programming failing, his growth tank quietly letting him free. he’s not Strike Commander Morrison, Sunshine Morrison, Overwatch hero. he’s just a soldier. he’s not even the first one)

omfg yes this goes into what me and @penteom​ started talking about right after I posted that.

what if they have the original kept on ice somewhere. Sometime, not
long after Jack was promoted, they snatched him right out from under
everyone’s noses and replaced him with the first clone of many. The real
Jack is still there, locked away and not aging, as the world goes on
and then things start to fall apart.

Jack and all of the
clones are fitted with a sort of implant that transfers the memories of
the original and compiles those of the clones so that each new one is
kept up-to-date as they are awakened. The UN can alter those memories as
they see fit, but not completely erase them. Some of the clones have
nightmares about their past deaths. Some of them start to question
things. Those are always terminated early. The clone Gabe brought his
suspicions to is killed a few days after that tense conversation and
this time Gabe knows for certain something is messed up because Jack
acts as if it never happened.

76 is the first clone to become
fully aware of what’s going on and it’s only after the explosion at the
Swiss HQ, after he’s lost half his face and the use of his eyes. The UN
ceases their cloning program for a while but keep Jack on ice, looking
into ways to make him their perfect little soldier, waiting until the
world is begging for a hero. 76 makes it his mission to find the real
Morrison and break him out. He doesn’t know that Reaper is after the
same thing, that the agents Reaper killed were all involved in it. Gabe
lead the revolt at the Swiss HQ because he was enraged at what he’d
discovered. He’d learned they were somehow programming Jack but he
hadn’t discovered anything about the clones until afterwards.

a few initial clashes and 76 discovering Reaper’s identity, they start
grudgingly working together to find the real Jack Morrison. Neither of
them wants to get too close to the other. They don’t want to get too
attached; Reaper because he knows 76 isn’t the real Jack, 76 because he
knows that whatever feelings he has for Gabe aren’t really his and that
Reaper wouldn’t want to have anything to do with him after finding the
real Morrison. Reaper keeps telling himself that he’ll kill 76 when it’s
all over so that there are no more traces of the horrors that the UN
inflicted on them. But as they get close to finally finding him, Gabe
can’t bring himself to do it. 76 is as much a person as the real Jack.
He might be a clone, a copy, but deep down he’s still Jack.

there are nights when it all gets too much and Gabe and 76 fall into bed
together, working out their frustration in the only way they can think
of. And it’s not the same yet it is at the same time and Gabe
hates it. Because he wants Jack, but he’s starting to want 76 too. And
76 is bitter because he knows that between the two of them, Gabe will
pick the real Jack.

And then they find him. They fight their way
to the heart of a heavily defended base and they free the real Jack from
the cryo chamber he’s been locked in. He’s shivering and naked and
looks the same as he did back then, mostly unmarred skin and bright
blond hair without a hint of gray. And he knows what 76 has been
thinking because the implant is still there, and they were still linked
even after the collapse of Overwatch. And he understands. 76 thought Jack would hate him, but all he sees in Jack’s eyes is sympathy.

try to escape as quickly as possible but it’s hard when Jack hasn’t
moved in years. Gabe and 76 have to take turns supporting him and it
really slows them down. They nearly go down at one point as 76 grabs
Jack and pulls him behind cover, shoving his small sidearm into Jack’s
hand. His aim is a bit off but he’s able to help them at least.

then 76 sees it. The small red dot of a laser sight between Jack’s
shoulder blades as he leans heavily against Reaper’s shoulder. He
doesn’t think, just acts. He dives forward, a hand on each of their
shoulders as he shoves hard. They go sprawling to the floor as the shot
rings out. Reaper shoves 76 off and starts to yell at him for knocking
him down when he sees the blood and freezes. Jack is already moving,
frantically pressing his hands to the hole punched through 76′s breast.
Gabe is reminded all too clearly of a similar scene from years ago,
screaming as Jack as he was dying in his arms. And it’s happening again
with 76.

He pries off the mask to see 76 smiling up at them both,
his clouded eyes showing no signs of fear. He pulls Gabe down for one
last kiss, messy and bloody and over too quickly. Then he tells Jack to
take care of Gabe, to do things better this time, to not lose sight of
what’s really important to him. He dies in that base knowing that Jack
Morrison is free to finally love Gabe as he should and knowing through
their link that Jack wont fail this time.

When it’s all over, and
Gabe and Jack are part of the new Overwatch, Jack’s uniform is a
familiar one. He insists on the codename Soldier: 76.

why would you do this to me on 3:28 am

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