"I can snap his neck and kill him before you get a shot off."
With every step he takes down the hallway at District, he half-expects to feel the clamp of a hand falling on his shoulder, to feel something jab into the back of his neck, hear someone call his name to stop him.
They aren't just going to let him go, are they? This has to be some kind of trick. Let him think he's going to get away, then grab him, drag him back to the interrogation room.
He'd fallen for it once before, thinking he was safe. He isn't going to fall for it again. They didn't fucking trust him enough to believe that he hadn't talked under twenty months of torture in China, he isn't going to believe them when they said he could just walk away.
"I've known Agent Holt for years. He was my friend. He was a partner."
He reaches the security checkpoint, presents his visitor's badge and watches as the guard types his name into the computer. Any minute, he expects the guard to say that there's some problem and can he just wait a minute?
The guard's sitting behind a desk; no cage, no plexiglass, nothing to stop Jack from diving over the desk. It'll make his ribs hurt like a bitch, but he's had a lot of experience in dealing with pain. From where he's standing, Jack can see that the snap on the guard's holster is loose; that will shave a second off Jack's ability to pull the gun out of the holster. The security guards' training is pathetic, he knows from experience; no match for someone with his skills. The guard will finish telling him to wait while some problem is sorted out and thirty seconds later Jack could be out of the building, without a shot fired.
"Okay, you're signed out, Mr. Bauer," the guard says, breaking into Jack's thoughts. For a moment he isn't sure he'd heard right, and even as he turns to walk out the door, he expects to be stopped.
Then he's out in the warm, breezy night, the doors to District closed behind him, and still, as he takes each step away from the building, he can't believe they're going to let him go.
"And if you think I forgot a second of what happened to me in China, then go ahead, shoot me. But don't you dare try and make me responsible for Marcus Holt's death."
He walks back to the apartment, as he hadn't grabbed any money and doesn't know what bus routes to take. It takes him an hour; an hour of glancing over his shoulder every couple minutes, of listening to every sound. An hour where every step he takes might increase the distance between him and the people he never wants to see again, but only heightens the anxiety of waiting for that to change.
He goes up the stairs two at a time, ribs screaming in pain as he tries to catch his breath. He can't take the time to stop and rest; he has to get out of there. They know where he is, and might come looking for him again, even though he'd threatened to shoot first if he ever saw Ramirez on his doorstep again. If they really want him, that won't stop them.
Grabbing his bag, still damp and smelling like saltwater after he'd washed it out, he tosses his few meager possessions into it before unscrewing the vent cover and digging out his cash and his gun from their hiding place. Leaving the key on the table, he walks out, the button lock closing behind him. The room is paid up for a week, so maybe no one will realize he's gone before the landlord comes looking for the rent.
Taking the stairs more slowly this time, he tries to think of where he's going to go, without much luck. He has to find a place to stay, but he isn't sure whether to leave town first, or to find a night's accommodation and do it then. It's been nearly two years since he's had to make any kind of choices, since he's thought further ahead than the next torture session under Cheng's hands.
He's also nearing exhaustion; he's only slept a couple hours in the last thirty-six, and hasn't eaten much either. He can feel the broken rib fragments grating against each other every time he breathes too deeply.
He needs somewhere to sleep, but even more than that, he wants something to drink. Something to dull the memories that dog him at every step, something to let him sleep without dreaming, something to make the shaking in his hands and anxious feeling in his chest go away.
Heroin would do a better job of helping him relax, and if he hadn't been clean for so long, the thought might actually have some sway. It isn't like he has anything to lose, other than the little amount of money he has. He'd seriously considered jumping off the cliff at Heller's house; an overdose has to be a more peaceful way to go. But then he hadn't jumped when he had the chance, and he can't intentionally OD now; god only knows why. Maybe because of what he'd told Bill earlier that day, that he'd stayed alive in China because he wanted to die for something. Killing himself would be dying for nothing, as otherwise appealing as it is.
"Come on! Shoot!"
Besides, unless he's willing to take that final step, there's no point in trying to find a dealer and wasting his money on smack. He's used to dosing intravenously, and after almost two years of being injected with a range of chemicals by Cheng's men, he isn't sure he could actually get himself to stick the needle in his skin.
His stomach clenches. Ramirez had said one of those things that the Chinese had injected him would have wiped his memory of giving up information...
No. No fucking way. He didn't talk; Cheng was just making it up as one last way to save his own skin and put Jack through hell. Just like he had when he'd let Jack believe that Audrey was all right.
He remembers every minute of his time in China, remembers everything they'd done to him, and he knows he hadn't talked. Hadn't spoken a word in almost two years. If he'd really spilled about Agent Holt within two months of his capture, then why the fuck hadn't Cheng just used that drug to get everything else from him? Why continue with the beatings, with the hours of prodding him with electric batons or pouring acid on his skin?
The anger that bubbles up inside him thinking about the last few hours--the last twenty months--gives Jack the energy he needs. His government let him rot in a cell in China, at least until they needed their blood sacrifice. They can all go to hell now, and if any of them comes near him again, he intends to honour the promise he'd given Ramirez.
"You ever see me again, you better start saying the Lord's Prayer, because it'll mean I've come to kill you."
By the time he's reached the lobby, he's made something of a plan: find a spot to sleep for a few hours, then make his way to the bus terminal or train station and get the hell out of town. It'll do for now, and hopefully it'll keep Division from finding him.
Shifting his bag on his shoulder with another twinge in his ribs, he crosses the lobby and opens the building's front door.