STARGATE SG-1: House Arrest

Summary: Sequel to "Operation Checkmate". It's Jack's turn to be in over his head…

Season: 8

Disclaimer: I don't own the stuff, yadda yadda.

Author's Note: OK, I know what I said… no more. And I whole heartedly take it back. It really is a bad idea for me to walk into town and then sit in Starbucks for half an hour. That's where this came from. Please R&R as always. Thanx. Enjoy!

WARNING: Strong Language!

Dedication: To Chaos-Carter! Thanx for all the help you've given me. You've been a real asset! Luv ya babes!

House Arrest: Chapter 1 – Simon Says.

No police. No NID. No funny business. Man, did this guy know how to work up the clichés!

Not that Jack had much room to argue. It was a case of play along or lose something that he couldn't imagine being without – Carter.

To him, that just wasn't an option.

It wasn't just the fact that Simon was promising to kill her – it was the fact that he was sure there was a lot that would come before that end.

'It would be all too easy for me to waltz in there, scare the living shit out of her and blow her brains out… or worse.' That's what he'd said. Jack was trying so hard not to think about what 'worse' could mean. But that was easier said than done. His mind had a tendency to run away with things like this.

Torture? Definitely. That seemed to be Simon's forte (psychological anyway but something gave Jack the feeling that the physical kind was also within his capacity). Rape? God, he hoped not. But he wasn't 100 sure he should rule it out just yet.

Either way, he couldn't let anything happen to her. He could never live with himself if she came to harm.

"Alright. What do I do?" The words choked Jack, even as he uttered them. His eyes were fixed on his TV screen, watching Sam as she read her book. He felt like he was betraying her in saying what he did. But it was the only way he could keep her safe; the only way he could keep this nut case away from her.

The price he would have to pay for that, of course, was the problem. It was another man's life.

After thirty years in the Air Force, Jack was pretty much used to the sight of death and destruction. But when all that was in cold blood, it turned Jack pale with anger. He had only once been the cause of such a scene and that was plenty enough.

But, for her, he was about to make it one more.

"You know how Sam got Gibson?" Simon asked slyly.

"Took him out from a first floor window with a Sound Suppressed Revolver Riffle," he said mechanically. It still felt strange thinking that she had done something as horrific as that. And for him, no less.

"Yeah. Quite a nice shot as well. But that's not what I want you to do. That sort of thing's got me written all over it."

"Trying to lay low, are we?" Jack said lazily.

"Something like that," Simon replied. "What we need for Frakes is something a little more… subtle."

"Arsenic in the brandy type of thing?"

"No…more of a strangling him with razor wire type of thing."

If Jack had been drinking beer, the bottle would have fallen dramatically from his fingers, smashing (or at least spilling its contents) on the floor. As it happened, he simply found himself completely and utterly lost for words; in the sense that he literally could not find words to express the revulsion, shock and disgust he felt towards the man he was unfortunate enough to be talking to.

"That's subtle?" he managed to gasp eventually, saving the string of insults for later.

Simon laughed. "Yeah, I'll admit, it's a little extreme. But then, if it were me doing this, that'd just be for starters."

Jack breathed in sharply. Okay, so torture was definitely in the picture now. His eyes flickered back to the screen for a moment but he forced himself to look away. "It sounds to me like you two have some…personal issues to iron out - why don't you pay him a visit yourself? Save us all the trouble," Jack said cynically.

"Well, the whole point of this is for me to get back my life, isn't it? If I started that off by killing someone like that, I'd be running from cops for the rest of my life. Not much of a life there, don't you think?"

Jack gritted his teeth. Hard.

"You, on the other hand, have all that lovely Special Ops training. I'm sure you can come up with something imaginative to make it look like someone else did it."

"And Carter? How'd she qualify for Assassin duty?"

"Well, firstly, she's about the only person on the planet who'd be the slightest bit sorry if your corpse turned up somewhere, and since you were the leverage that detail was kind of important. And secondly, she – like you – doesn't officially exist, if you get my meaning."

"She's not Special Ops, though," Jack pointed out.

"So? She managed Gibson alright, didn't she?"

Jack felt his cheeks flash hot. It enraged him to think about what Simon had already put Sam through. Sneaking around the Pentagon and NID. Killing Gibson. The fact that she essentially did it all to save him burdened him with an incredible amount of guilt, like nothing he had ever known. He was utterly obligated to follow Simon's commands, if only to return a favour he knew he had never deserved in the first place.

"You wanna cut the crap or what?" Jack said coldly, trying to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

"Sure," Simon replied coolly. "Here it is. Frakes is in San Francisco living the life of luxury that all retired USAF Generals are entitled to – especially when forced into hiding. And what's more, his wife's on holiday in the Bahamas at the moment, so he's all alone."

Jack closed his eyes as yet another wave of guilt hit him.

"So, let me guess," he interrupted. "I sneak in, strangle him and then get the hell out?"

"That's pretty much it. Not so hard, huh? But there is a time limit on this."

"Of course there is," Jack quipped.

"You've got 24 hours, Jack. If he's not dead by then… you know what'll happen."

Jack suppressed the urge to ask just what exactly would happen – at the moment cold, hard facts would most certainly be kinder than his vivid imagination. "And after that?" he asked. "Is that all? You'll leave us alone once he's dead?"

Jack could hear him smile again. "If the job's done properly… maybe."

With that, the line went dead.

Jack stood for a moment with the receiver still pressed to his ear, his eyes focused on the TV screen showing Sam's living room; anger boiling inside him.

"SHIT!" he cursed, breaking finally. He launched the receiver at the far wall. It broke on impact; little pieces of plastic and metal components skittered and rolled across the floor.

Sam was still sat contently in her living room, oblivious to the heart-wrenching decisions that had just been made on her behalf. But there was no way out now. Jack was in it to the end and (though he hadn't known it before) had been from the start. It was more than just a simple case of 'what Simon says, goes'. The stakes had been set. And they were high.

They had to be when people's lives were on the line.

Jack took in several deep breaths. Time was ticking by – he didn't have the luxury of standing around hypothesising all day. He had a deadline, one that he could only meet if he avoided thinking all together. There was no 'going' in this game: just 'gone'.

Jack had already gone way beyond the call of duty for Sam. Now… he needed to go further.

Author's Note: OK, so that'll do for starters! Do please leave a review and I'll get cracking on chapter 2!