Title: Fugitive Chances
Author: roseveare
Word Count: 744 words
Rating: PG-13 ish
Summary: If Jake had taken that taxi to the airport. AU.
A/N: Written for 100situations on LJ. Prompt: 025. Escape
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Fugitive Chances

He has a fast decision to make at the airport; chooses Spain because it's almost the soonest international flight leaving and he can speak the language, a bit. The journey there is more uncomfortable than any he can remember. He never knew that airplanes had so much noise. His new senses don't cope too well with the closed-in proximity of that many people.

He arrives and the weather is grey, and the people regard him like a moron or a tourist, because he can't speak the language, not really. But having to find a job becomes less of a pressing concern once he discovers how well these nanite things can charm even foreign ATMs.

He figured he wouldn't have very long before they caught up with him. He gets used to living with the awareness that his freedom, perhaps his life, could be measured in minutes. A cash-in-hand rented scruffy apartment becomes a home, of sorts. After a month or so he realises it's been a month or so, but it doesn't soothe his nerves much.

It's hard to soothe nerves when every small sound in the near vicinity - call it a mile or two, though that's probably a conservative estimate - can set them all jangling.

If his life expectancy is as short as the NSA's overheard conversation suggests, he thinks, he should be living it up. That's what you're supposed to say you'd do if the world was ending tomorrow, and his world well might. And after all, he can get all the cash he wants. He could go places, do stuff that wasn't sitting in a grubby room watching TV he barely understands, finding his highlight of the past three months Star Wars in Spanish.

But he doesn't want to spend what's left of his life in an NSA lab either, so he takes only what money he needs, and not enough to draw attention to himself.

Not like he was all that comfortable with the whole stealing concept anyhow.

The muscle cramps suck, but after a while they improve, or he gets used to them and they don't seem so bad. He gets more used to the senses than he was, but suspects it would be easier to be a fugitive without them. Sometimes they even let him sleep at night.

He doesn't quite ever get over breaking things when he picks them up, but then that problem isn't exactly a new one, just that now it's more spectacular when he's clumsy.

He wonders why they haven't come for him. They're the NSA, they should have found him by now. In his more paranoid moments, he wonders if they're watching him. If he's monitored like some tagged lion in the wild. He talks to the invisible cameras like Jim Carrey on The Truman Show and suspects it's all sending him a little bit insane.

If he'd known it would end like this he might have stayed and taken his chances with the NSA.

It's not that it hurts, although physically it's not fun, but it gives him too much time, as he's sprawled in front of the incomprehensible TV with his limbs locked and sensation up his spine slowly freezing. Time to realise that he only ran to put himself in another cell, of his own making, and the NSA's couldn't have been more stifling.

He thought he might have had longer. He supposes, on some level he must have thought it would all go away if he held out long enough, and he could still have a life.

They're late.

If they're here at all. But then he already thought they were once, until his vision cleared and one panic subsided only to be replaced by another, when he realised he was the only person in the room.

He hears a woman's voice - familiar; the woman he met before in the lab. She says, "I told you there was something wrong yesterday." She frustratedly gabbles something about mice, but his hearing's fading off now, too.

Faces blur above him and he can just about feel the hands on his arm. "--On his way out," somebody says, bluntly clinical.

Jake rolls his head, tries to catch the eyes of the woman - Diane, her name's Diane - as he mouths, desperately, "Reboot."

He doesn't know if she's heard or understood him as the world executes a classic fade to black.