The fire was roaring in the hearth, reds, yellows, oranges, flames flickering together in a timeless pattern that drew the eyes of the room's soul occupant.
Jack O'Neill was officially, finally free... he was 68, and he was free. His last, final, never-to-be revoked resignation was official... he was free... and alone.
It had been more than 20 years since he'd first arrived at the SGC, closer to 30 really, and in that time he'd seen... seen more, death, and pain, and destruction, than most men would ever want to imagine, but it had been bearable, bearable because he had his team, his family, and bearable because he'd always known at the end of it, he'd be free, but he'd never planned on being alone.
From Colonel to General, Jack had seen, done, and written the book on life at the SGC, there was very little he didn't know about that place, which probably made him a security risk if he'd ever been captured... well captured and been kept, but he hadn't, somehow he'd always gotten out, they all had... him, Sam, Teal'c, and Daniel, but now, he was the only one left, the only one.
Teal'c had been the first, almost 10 years before, although most of the big-wig Goa'uld were long since gone, the smaller ones were trying to rise to power, and, Jack reflected wryly, it was a small fry, that had eventually taken Teal'c down, just a minor snake, that no-one had thought to care about... Jack, Daniel, and Sam had buried their friend... and then the snake that killed him... it had been the first time Jack had been off-world in 4 years, the doctors went nuts at him when he got back, and he was stuck in the infirmary for a month, but he'd been there to take down the snake, and that had been his goal, so he accepted the chastisement, and went about his business like a good little General.
Next it was Sam, that one had been worse in a way, because although losing Teal'c had been hard, he'd gone out fighting, like he'd have wanted, which made it somewhat easier for them all to swallow, but Sam shouldn't have died how she did, and it cut both the remaining 'family' members to the quick.
She'd been driving to work, a not so unusual occurrence, except that this time she was driving at night, because she'd been called in specially to tend to one of her 'pet projects' that seemed to be doing some interesting things.
She'd been driven off the road by a 15 year old kid, who'd been taking a drunken joy-ride in his father's car... so fucking senseless.
After her funeral, Jack and Daniel retreated to his cabin for a month, they worked on the old place, brought it up to scratch, installed new plumbing, generally made it look homey, and sold it, the money had gone to a memorial fund in Sam's name for promising young scientists, it wasn't a lot, but it was all they could think of to do, so that something solid would remain of her.
The Samantha Carter Memorial Scholarship, sent five teenagers to university to study physics every year, and had done, for the last 6 years.
Daniel was next... that one... that one had been really hard for Jack to swallow... Daniel was the last of his family, his loyal, brave, and strong, best friend... Jack had held Daniel's hand and cried as he drew his last breath, just a month before.
Daniel had been diagnosed with Cancer... he'd rallied at first, determined to beat it, but months passed, then a year, and he was only getting worse, not better.
In the end, the last few months, Daniel had spent most of his time lying down, in bed, on the couch, on warm days, outside on the patio, but he was so weak, Jack had practically had to carry him, it wasn't easy on his knees, but it was a task he did gladly, because it meant Daniel was still with him.
He'd died there, on the patio, it was early one summer morning, the sun was up, and the birds were awake, but mostly everything else was quite, it was a Sunday, most people didn't like to get up early on a Sunday, but Daniel had insisted, shouting for Jack as soon as the sun was up and insisting on sitting outside... Jack had known then, Daniel had known then, that time was running short, and less than an hour later, with Jack's hand clasping firmly in his, Daniel had smiled a final goodbye and just gone to sleep, just like that, so serenely, and peacefully.
Jack was the only one left.
Jack's eyes left the fire, and settled on a picture on the mantle, the last of them all together, taken at Christmas just a few months before Teal'c had died.
Jack raised himself on shaky legs and retrieved the picture, holding it near his heart, remembering the day it was taken, how happy they had all been... it was so long ago... and now he was alone, but not for long, not for long, because he had a plan... he's retired, once and for all, and now he was going home to his family.
Jack settled back in his chair, and taking another swig of the seemingly harmless beer, he let his eyes drift shut, as his breathing evened out, and eventually stopped...
Doctor Cassandra Frasier-O'Connell felt the tears well up in her eyes, as the coffin was lowered slowly into the ground.
The last member of SG-1 had been laid to rest.
No-one knew it, Cassandra had been very through when she'd cleaned out Jack's house, and cleared the autopsy, but Jack had killed himself. Cassandra knew why, she wasn't surprised, but she wouldn't let it damage his reputation, Jack deserved better.
"Honey?" he husband's voice sounded quietly beside her.
"I'm fine... I just hope their all okay, all together again." Cassandra said, more to herself than anything as she let herself be lead away from the grave, all four members of SG-1, side by side, on Abydos, the place they had all asked to be buried, the place that had brought them together as a team and that had made them a family.
Somewhere on the other side, four friends, all looking much younger than they had any right too, sat around a camp-fire and traded of insults and jokes, the family was together again and forever more.