Chapter 1: Grief

He couldn't remember ever feeling so empty. It was as if someone sucker punched him. Only this time, the punch landed directly in his heart. When the malevolent fist was removed, its greedy fingers had ripped out everything of meaning, shredding all of it before his eyes.

He'd watched the tape provided him by Atlantis. He'd seen her left behind by her own order. It was something he would have done.

He'd watched helplessly as the lone Wraith approached her, preparing to feed. He'd silently screamed for her as the creature touched her lovely body and her face became frozen in dread and pain.

Then all had gone black. The videotaped record of ultimate destruction had ended with the blast.

Jack O'Neill had no idea where to go from here. Past experience of loss told him he would survive. Frankly, he wasn't sure about that, not this time. Drawing breath without Sam Carter by his side, well, it seemed pointless. Sure, she'd been light years away in Atlantis, but she'd been with him in every other way this past year. They'd had a year of married love and devotion, the culmination of years of waiting and sacrifice.

It hadn't been enough.

Still he'd never dishonor her memory by taking his own life. It would be so easy, but she wouldn't want it, wouldn't want him, not that way.

Sometime today, he would need to leave his office. Sometime today, he'd have to get out of this chair, get on with business. He'd be expected to go to Atlantis, help them mourn their leader and eventually, plan his wife's memorial service. But not now; right now, he would simply continue to breathe, trace the contours of her beautiful face on the photo he held in his hands and remember her kiss. Yes, that's what he would do for now.

It was as much as he could do.


A/N: Short and definitely not sweet, I know.

Rest assured the next chapters will explain what's happened. Then we'll go from there.

And yes, I have every intention of writing the final chapter for Unbroken. This is simply a plot bunny that's been itching to get out.

Please let me know what you think.