Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are not my property

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are not my property. No copyright infringement is intended.

Flashbacks are in italics.

Trying to avoid as many people as possible and not wanting to talk to anyone, Sam came to the base in the early hours of the morning.

She entered Jack's office, closed the door and leaned against it for a few moments, just thinking about all the times she had been in this room for one reason or another. She turned on the light, sat down in his chair and tried not to cry.

Occasionally, when she and Jack had worked off-world together, she would think that this could happen, but had always pushed the thought aside. It would be a very long time before she could accept in her heart what had taken place.

Over the last several days, she kept going over and over in her mind the event that had taken Jack from her. He had given his life to save her.

The day had started off like any other. Jack was tired of sitting behind a desk, so he decided to join SG-1 on their mission and had left Colonel Reynolds in charge of the base.

The team was returning to a planet to sign a treaty that Daniel had brokered. Earth would get as much naquadah as they wanted and in exchange, the people there would receive a large supply of food, medicine and other supplies over the next several months. The leaders of the village were eager and ready for the exchange to begin.

Jack had heard lots of good things about these folks that SG-1 had come to know and considered them as friends. Daniel had told him the people were friendly, kind and gentle and he was looking forward to meeting them in person. In all their travels to the village as Daniel worked with the leaders on the terms of the treaty, the team had seen no signs of danger.

When they arrived through the stargate, she had been walking in front, Daniel and Jack were side by side behind her, with Teal'c in back. They were enjoying each other's company and Jack was glad to be getting some exercise.

They walked beside a lake for a short distance but the longest leg of the journey would be through a forest before reaching their destination.

The planet was very hot and humid and being in no big hurry, Jack suggested that they stop beside the lake and take a break before proceeding through the forest. Jack and Daniel laid down their weapons, then removed their tactical vests to cool off. She opened her canteen and drank some water, took off her cap and ran her hand through her hair.

Teal'c stood watch over his friends as he held his P-90.

Jack ran his hand over his face. "It's so hot you could fry an egg in this heat."

She smiled. "I agree."

As Jack knelt down beside the lake to splash cool water on his face, he heard someone speak. He turned his head to see two men who had apparently come out of the forest.

On their many trips here to the planet she did not remember seeing them in the village, and wondered if the men had been watching them since they came through the gate.

Daniel greeted them and one of the men spoke, but as Jack stood up, he noticed the other one staring at her with a leering look on his face. The man walked up to her and stared right into her eyes.

"You're very pretty" he said as he reached out to touch her face.

Wanting nothing to do with the man, she raised her hand to stop him and took two steps back as Jack quickly stepped between them. Jack glared at him and in a loud voice, told him to back off. The situation instantly became volatile. The two men raised their weapons, as did Teal'c. They all stared at each other for a few moments, then the two men lowered their weapons and started to walk away. The team thought the men were leaving and Jack turned to say something to her, but the two men suddenly swung back around and raised their rifles.

"Jack, look out!" Daniel yelled.

Jack quickly turned to face the men. Jack threw out his arms to protect her as the man who had tried to touch her, fired at Jack, hitting him in his stomach. He fell back against her and she caught him in her arms as Teal'c returned fire, killing them both. It had all happened so quickly.

She lowered Jack to the ground as Daniel and Teal'c rushed to kneel beside them.

Daniel frantically reached for his backpack and pulled out a first aid kit but the blood was coming too fast to stop the bleeding. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she tenderly cradled Jack in her arms. Jack looked into her eyes and whispered "Sam" then took one last deep breath and his eyes slowly closed.

"Noooo!" she screamed as she began to sob. Tears pooled in Daniel's eyes and Teal'c stared as he watched his friend die in front of them.

Several moments passed and she continued to hold Jack in her arms, never wanting to let him go as she cried out her anguish.

Daniel looked at Teal'c. "We have to get him home."

Teal'c gently spoke. "Colonel Carter, we need to go back to Earth."

She released him and Teal'c picked up Jack. Daniel helped her to her feet and put his arm around her.

They hurried back down the path that they had come. She kept glancing at Jack as tears spilled from her eyes.

In a few more minutes they would be at the gate. Daniel could see that Teal'c was getting tired and suggested they stop so Teal'c could rest, but with determination in his eyes, Teal'c assured them that he could make it. They got to the stargate and Daniel hurriedly pushed the coordinates for Earth on the DHD.

Everyone in the gate room stopped and stared as Teal'c came through the event horizon carrying Jack and walked down the ramp, heading toward the infirmary. As she and Daniel came through, they could see that she was crying and had blood on her clothes. Daniel had his arm around her shoulder and her arm was around Daniel's waist.

Colonel Reynolds hurried from the control room. "What happened?" he asked. Neither she nor Daniel replied but walked toward the infirmary with Colonel Reynolds following.

Teal'c laid Jack down, then stood back and stared at his lifeless body as she and Daniel stood at the foot of the bed.

Dr. Brightman quickly checked Jack's pupils and felt for a pulse but could not find one. She looked at the three teammates standing in disbelief. She was sobbing, there were tears on Daniel's cheeks and Teal'c had tears in his eyes.

"I'm so sorry" the Doctor said as tears moistened her eyes and she pulled a sheet over Jack's face.

Daniel led her to a bed, sat down beside her and wrapped his arms around her as she cried into his chest.

Colonel Reynolds placed a call to General Hammond in Washington. Trying to get over the initial shock, he said he would notify the President and would fly to Colorado Springs as soon as possible.

Even though he knew SG-1 was upset, Colonel Reynolds met with the team to get on record the events of what had happened. She sat at the table and gave her account of what had taken place, but now, she couldn't even remember what she had said.

Daniel informed Colonel Reynolds that Sara should be notified and he said he would be sure it was taken care of.

Someone had to tell Cassie so Daniel volunteered. She was too upset to break the news to the young woman who had been like a daughter to Jack.

Colonel Reynolds also sent messages to Thor, the Tok'ra and Bra'tac to inform them of Jack's death.

Daniel, Cassie and Teal'c had stayed at her house, none of them wanting to be alone. They were up late, reminiscing about Jack.

She had gone to bed exhausted but had dreamed about the incident on the planet and she woke up screaming as Daniel rushed into her bedroom. He held her in his arms until she fell asleep.

Before dawn the day of the funeral, she had gotten dressed in her uniform and gone to the funeral home to spend some time alone, standing beside Jack's coffin with her hand resting on top. Just as the sun was rising, Daniel slipped his arm around her waist and Teal'c put his arm around her shoulder. The three friends embraced as they said their private goodbye to Jack.

Stargate Command was closed except for a small crew to keep the base in operation. Almost everyone who had been under Jack's command wanted to attend the funeral.

An hour before the service began, the coffin was delivered to the church with four color guardsmen.

She, Daniel, Teal'c, Cassie, General Hammond, a member of the Joint Chiefs and a representative of the President, took their places down front.

During the funeral, she sat very stoic, staring at the coffin that held the man she loved.

She slowly turned her head to look across the aisle to see Sara wiping her eyes, feeling sympathy for the woman who, at one time, had shared her life with Jack.

General Hammond spoke and Daniel gave the eulogy. He told her later that it had been one of the hardest things he had ever done.

Everyone followed the hearse to the cemetery where Jack would be laid to rest next to Charlie.

The priest spoke for a few minutes then everyone was silent. In the distance, approaching fighter jets could be heard and she looked up to see them fly overhead in the missing man formation. She thought to herself that Jack was such a private man, he would have been embarrassed by all this attention.

After the flag that covered Jack's coffin was folded, the lonely sound of Taps could be heard. She hung her head, it was all she could do not to cry.

The flag was given to General Hammond, then he turned to face her. She held out her hands as he gently laid the flag in her arms. She fought back the tears as he saluted, then returned to his place and she hugged the flag to her chest.

After the service was over, she watched as Walter, Siler, Dr. Brightman, Colonel Dixon, Major Davis, Colonel Ferretti, Major Griff and so many others would walk up to the coffin and stand for a moment, then give a final salute to their fallen commander.

As she stood there, she thought back over the last three months. After she had given the ring back to Pete, she and Jack had finally talked. They didn't want to put their personal lives on hold any longer so they had started seeing each other outside of work and it had been the happiest time of her life. They had known each other as co-workers and friends, and they were finally getting to know each other as Jack and Sam. Wanting to keep their relationship private, they had only told Daniel and Teal'c, which had come as no surprise to their two closest friends.

Just two days before he died, Jack had been at her house that night. He had told her he needed to get home because he had an early morning briefing the next day. She walked him to the door as they held hands, then he put his arms around her and gazed into her eyes.

"I love you, Samantha. Don't you ever forget that."

"Oh, believe me, I won't" she grinned. "I love you too, Jack."

They pulled each other closer and kissed. The kiss was finally broken and without saying another word, he grinned that crooked grin that she loved so much and a smile lit up her face. It was the last time that he would ever kiss her or tell her he loved her.

She was brought out of the memory as Daniel slipped his hand into hers and they left the cemetery.

General Hammond had opened his house to everyone after the funeral, got everyone's attention and thanked them for coming. He started to talk about Jack and how much he had meant to him. Everyone laughed when he told about the numerous times he had almost written up Jack for insubordination. But tears came to his eyes when he said that Jack had been a close friend, he had never known a more honest person and Stargate Command would never be the same without him.

One after another, people told the group what Jack had meant to them.

One of the nurses talked of Jack's kindness when her brother had been killed in an auto accident. Jack had sent flowers to the funeral.

Captain Murphy from one of the other SG teams, told about the time that he was on the elevator with Jack when Jack had asked if he had children. He told him he had a son and that he was playing his first Little League game on Saturday. He had casually asked Jack to come, but he really hadn't expected him to. But he had been pleasantly surprised when Jack had shown up at the ball park. After the game, he introduced Jack to his son and Jack told them how much his own son had loved to play baseball. Captain Murphy finished by saying it had meant so much to him to see that General O'Neill took an interest in the people that he was responsible for.

She cried as Daniel told about meeting Jack for the first time and how Jack had always been like a big brother to him. He talked about the many times that Jack had saved his life and that they had differing opinions on almost everything. But he knew that no matter how different they were, he would never have a closer friend than Jack.

Teal'c spoke of his admiration for Jack as a leader and considered them to be brothers. They had fought many battles together and there would never be another warrior like O'Neill.

It was well known on the base just how much Jack hated paperwork. Everyone laughed as Walter recounted all the times he would come into General O'Neill's office with a large stack of papers to add to the stacks that were already there. The General would glare at him and he would quickly back up and close the door before he could yell at him.

Colonel Dixon spoke of working with Jack over the years and had admired him. The Colonel said that from now on when he was leading his team, he would always think of Jack when he said "we don't leave our people behind."

Siler told everyone that he had always liked Jack because he was never too busy to stop and listen when he needed to talk with him and he considered Jack as his friend.

Dr. Lee spoke of his respect and admiration for General O'Neill when he and Daniel had been kidnapped and Jack had risked his life to bring them home safely.

Major Davis said he had admired the General for always standing up for what he believed in.

Jennifer Hailey talked about the first time she met General O'Neill. He had risked his life to save everyone else that day and the longer she had worked with him, the more her respect and admiration had grown.

Colonel Ferretti spoke of Jack's sense of humor, his sarcasm and how Jack was not afraid to speak his mind.

Colonel Reynolds said that he and Jack had fought side by side in many battles. He had always admired Jack and thought it was long overdue when Jack finally received his promotion to Brigadier General and took over as commander of the base.

She did not speak in front of the group, feeling that she would only cry if she tried. She felt a little guilty about it and said so to General Hammond, but he had reassured her that he understood.

As she was leaving the General's house, he walked her to her car and took her hands in his. Tears filled her eyes when he told her that he had always known that Jack loved her.

Colonel Reynolds told SG-1 to take two weeks off. She knew she needed this time to try to come to terms with Jack's death but she wasn't sure that she would ever get over it completely.

So now here she sat at Jack's desk staring into space, almost numb from the grief and sadness. She clinched her fists. She wanted to yell, scream, throw things, curse the heavens for taking him from her. She had shared eight years of her life with Jack. How would she go on without this man who was such a huge part of her life and had fallen so deeply in love with?

She took a deep breath and remembered why she had come here.

Feeling that Jack might have personal belongings in his desk, Colonel Reynolds had given her permission to clean out the desk and keep whatever she wanted.

All of the files and other paperwork on top of his desk had already been boxed up and would be turned over to the new base commander when one was appointed.

All of the pictures and plaques had been removed from his office. She, Daniel and Teal'c would decide later what to do with those. The picture of Jack and Charlie that had set on his credenza had been returned to Sara.

She opened the middle drawer of his desk and there was his blue yo-yo. She smiled as she remembered all the times she had seen him play with it. She picked it up and turned it over in her hand, then squeezed it tightly before putting it in a box that she had brought with her.

She found a pack of gum; a deck of cards; two music CD's; the usual office supplies; a roll of Lifesavers; a small, framed picture of Charlie when he was a baby and various notes scribbled in Jack's distinctive handwriting. In the very back of the drawer she found a key.

She worked until all the drawers had been emptied except the very bottom one but it was locked. She picked up the key that she had found and put it in the lock. She opened the drawer and picked up some papers that she would look through later. Just as she set them aside, she noticed a small white box in the corner. She picked it up and slowly opened it and inside was a tiny box. She gasped as she looked inside to find a beautiful diamond engagement ring. She studied it carefully, thinking how exquisite it was. Wondering how long he'd had the ring, she picked up the papers and leafed through them. She found a receipt from a jewelry store and looked at the date. Tears ran down her cheeks as she realized that Jack had bought the ring only a week before his death.

She set the ring down on the desk and stared at it, realizing that Jack must have been planning to propose. But now, that would never happen.

She gently placed her fingers on her lips and closed her eyes as she remembered their last kiss. She began to cry, knowing that she would never get the chance to kiss him again. She would never again go with him to his cabin. They would never again sit on his dock and fish. They would never again sit on the front porch of his cabin and hold hands as they looked at the stars. She would never again laugh at his jokes. He would never again try to make her giggle. He would never again sit in her lab and play with her doohickeys. She would never again hear him call her "Carter." They would never again share a pizza or watch a movie together. They would never again take a walk through the park. He would never again give her red roses. She would never again get to tease him about how much he liked the Simpsons. She would never again hear the friendly banter between him and Daniel. She would never again see the confused expression on his face as he tried to understand one of Teal'c's jokes. She would never again see him smile as he played with a child. They would never again share a piece of cake. He would never again tease her about her technobabble. She would never again hold his hand, snuggle with him on the sofa or kiss his warm lips. He would never again wrap his arms around her in a tight hug and bury his face in her neck. He would never again hold her in his arms and tell her that he loved her. She would never wear the beautiful ring. She would never be known as Samantha O'Neill.

If only she could have known what would happen. If only he had chosen a different day to go with them to the planet. If only they had arrived at a different time. If only they had not stopped beside the lake. If only he had not taken off his vest. If only . . . if only . . . if only. There were a dozen scenarios that could have changed the events of that day and Jack would still be alive.

Why had they waited so long to begin a relationship? Had it really been worth sacrificing their personal lives for their careers?

She would never know. She only knew that for the rest of her life, she would always miss him, she would always love him and there would always be this darkness deep in her soul that only Jack could fill.

She wiped her eyes and put the tiny box that held the ring in her purse.

Knowing that Jack would want her to get on with her life, she picked up her purse and the box, walked to the door and opened it. She looked around the room one more time, took a deep breath, turned off the light, and closed the door.

The End