She was eating peanut M&Ms when she died. That's his last memory of her. She was tucking into the pack - she'd stolen it from his pocket - and she glanced up at him, a twinkle in her eye, and then

he woke up in the infirmary. It was three weeks later, and she was dead.

They waited for him to wake up before they held the memorial service. He wishes they hadn't. He'd've stayed asleep if he'd known. He wants no part of it. He refused to speak, and he doesn't really care what people thought about that. He stood there, silent, in Dress Blues and a sling, feeling everyone's eyes on him. All he remembers of the service is thinking that peanut M&Ms didn't make much of a last meal. He'd have a good steak, some wine, some kind of chocolate cake for dessert, with cream on top. He had the whole meal planned by the time they sent her coffin through the Stargate.

They said it was instant. She wouldn't have known what hit her - she wouldn't have had time to feel any pain. He's not convinced they're telling the truth, not convinced they know what the hell they're talking about, but he chooses not to dig too deeply. He doesn't want to know. He's not so sure he wants to know anything, anymore.

People have tried to talk to him. He feels slightly guilty about his behaviour, but they should know him by now. If they've taken offence, if they're no longer his friends... well, the roaring, ragged black hole inside has sucked most of his emotions away, and he can't find the energy to care. Daniel and Teal'c were the last to go, of course. They fought the hardest, provoked him, prodded him to break down, break through, whatever. He had a slanging match with Daniel - Daniel won, but Jack was crueller - and a glaring match with Teal'c - no prizes for guessing who won that. Eventually they too had to admit defeat. Now they've left him alone, thank god.

They'll probably try again, but he's prepared to fight them off. He's done this before. Last time, he obviously wasn't thorough enough - they burrowed through the gaps in his defences, cracked him open, made him feel again, made him trust, made him think that he might have a chance at happiness, at a future. This time he knows better.

He's contemplating oblivion. He hasn't yet worked up the energy to do something definite about it, like putting a gun to his forehead or driving off a cliff. He's not sure he ever will. He feels so very old. He feels like a wind-up toy that's running down. He'd like to just... stop.

He sleeps a lot. He eats when the mood takes him, which is pretty infrequently. He's been craving peanut M&Ms, but his hands shake too much when he tries to buy them. He also drinks when the mood takes him, which is far more often. He's kept himself relatively showered and shaved - it's something to do. Sometimes he forgets what he's doing halfway, though, and goes about with half a beard until he runs a hand across his face and realizes. And he broke the mirror. Seven years bad luck.

The house is a bit of a mess.

He's not been back to the Mountain. He doesn't plan to go back, either. If they want him, they'll have to come get him. They can go on saving the world without him. It's not like he was the brains of the operation.

He sort of wants to go back to the Alpha site, just to... he's not sure. To see for himself that they haven't just missed something, perhaps. But that's not going to happen - they've relocated what was left of the facility to a new Alpha site, and that planet's now off-limits. He still doesn't completely believe that she's really dead - that the body they found wasn't a clone or something. Maybe she's still out there somewhere, hurt, waiting. It's not impossible, given their jobs, and, after all, he never saw her die - not that he remembers, anyhow. His dreams taunt him cruelly with endless variables, formulae for a happy ending - clones, androids, false memories, Gamekeeper-type simulations... At first, in the cold light of day, they seemed unlikely, but he's beginning to lose that conviction. When he broached the subject with Daniel and Teal'c, they looked at him like he was losing it. He admits, if only to himself, that it's a distinct possibility.

He's not yet let himself think about Ba'al. He just... can't. He doesn't have the energy for that amount of emotion.

He knows himself well enough to realize he isn't dealing with this very well - or at all - and the reasons for that. He's seen other deaths, of course - people he was close to, most notably Daniel (although that sort of lost its force after the first few times). But this is different. This is as bad as Charlie - worse, even, because living on after Charlie used up all his ability to recover. He has nothing in reserve to deal with this. And the one person who might have got him through is the one person whose absence is now destroying him, slowly but surely.

If their time had ever come, if he'd ever had a chance to say the things he wanted to say to her - and he still wants to say them - would that be better or worse? He doesn't know. He never will. The black hole inside gives a sharp twist at the thought of 'never'.

He was lucky. He knows this, because the doctors told him so. His wounds were severe, but he was miraculously flung behind a table by the force of the first explosion, which protected him from the worst of it. But he doesn't remember being lucky. He doesn't remember being dug out. He doesn't even remember the bomb going off. All he remembers is that packet of peanut M&Ms, and the twinkle in her eye. And then... nothing.

Maybe tomorrow he'll go buy himself a nice steak, and a bottle of wine, and some chocolate cake. With cream on top.