Darcy actually couldn’t believe that Loki stayed off the bed. She doubted like hell that anything she’d said had intimidated him in any way, but something seemed to have worked. He hardly moved at all from his little grouch corner, which in and of itself was enough to make Darcy just a little bit paranoid that he was plotting something sinister. She saw that drawing in Erik’s library book. It had practically embodied sinister, and here was the man himself slowly unravelling a sock. Darcy almost yelled at him for it, but decided he could have the damn sock. She didn’t need it.

After the most painful seven hundred words she’d ever forced out, Darcy gave up on her essay and emailed it to her professor. It wasn’t finished, and she couldn’t even be bothered to read it over once to check for any egregious typos, but she’d take the C. She thought she deserved an A+, pass the class forever for even trying to do her coursework with an escaped lunatic in her hotel room, but she wasn’t even going to try to explain that to her professor.

“Do you want my laptop?” she asked, hoping that if she kept her promises, Loki would be more inclined to let her live when he finally made his escape.

Loki barely looked up at her and shook his head. Apparently destroying the sock was more interesting, so Darcy shut down the machine. She put it down on the floor and slid it under the bed so she didn’t accidentally stomp on it in the middle of the night. The clock on the bedside table said it was just barely eight in the evening, but Darcy was exhausted. She’d hardly slept the night before, and with Clint dragging her out of bed at oh-god o’clock, she was running on empty. She wanted to just go to bed, but then she caught Loki out of the corner of her eye and decided that going to bed would be stupid. But it was cold, because the heater had been built by an idiot, and no-one in New Mexico had ever heard of insulation or double-glazing. She’d turned the heat on twice, only to turn the room into a temporary sauna before the room dropped back to ridiculously cold again after she turned it off. Something buried deep in whatever survival instincts she had made her want to just curl up and sleep all through the winter. Or maybe that was just the exhaustion. Either way, it wasn’t good.

Just to give herself something to do, she started flipping through channels again, not even trying to find anything. News, Spanish programming, PBS trying to get money, news, news, news, crappy sitcom, boring cop drama, and then the cycle started over.

Apparently channel-surfing through eight channels was boring enough to lull her to sleep, because at the fifth pass, the TV stopped on the Spanish programming and stayed there.

She barely registered the TV turning off, drifting somewhere being completely asleep and awake. Darcy burrowed deeper into her blankets, but the hotel was furnished with summer heat in mind, and the blankets were kind of thin and useless.

What woke her up in an instant was Loki once again invading her space and thinking that he could just cuddle with her.

“Dude, what the fuck?” She fought against him, pushing him as far away from her as possible. “I told you to stay off the bed!”

Loki rolled his eyes. “You’re freezing. You’re of no use to me dead,” he said flatly.

“I—You—What?” Darcy said, tripping over her own tongue. It took her a moment to catch up with exactly what Loki had said, and when she did, it was like a punch to the face. She’d somehow wandered into a full-blown hostage situation and hadn’t even realised it.

“Fucking oh my god, no!” she said. She sat back on her ass and started kicking at him as hard as she could, trying not to get tangled up in the blankets. “Get— off— the bed!”

Loki relented and returned to the floor to glower at her. Which was fine. He could glower all he wanted. As long as he stayed on the floor, he could do whatever the hell he wanted.

“If you freeze to death, someone will notice your absence, and when they come looking for you they will find me here,” Loki said. And he sounded so irritatingly calm, too. Like he hadn’t just tried to cop a feel, or whatever the fuck he thought he was doing. “In light of the situation, I would say your survival is in our mutual interest.”

“Wow, no wonder they threw your ass out of Space Viking Land. It’s not all about you, you know.” She ignored the venomous glare Loki gave her and looked back at the clock instead. It was five in the morning already.

“I was gonna try to go back to bed, but after yesterday, Clint’ll probably be here early, so what’s the point?” Darcy said, throwing her hands into the air. “Put a movie in.”

“No,” Loki said incredulously. His royal ass-ness had probably never been given an order in his life. Darcy didn’t care.

“Hey, you—” she jabbed a finger in his direction “—just violated me—” she pointed at herself “—and now I’m telling you to put a fucking movie in!”

She slumped back against the headboard and glared at the wall in front of her. After a few moments of tense silence, Loki reached for the DVD book and flipped to a random page and plucked a disk from it. While he had his back turned to her, pressing every button on the DVD player about eight times until something happened, Darcy took the opportunity to grab her handbag from the floor and fish her taser out. She was back up against the headboard by the time Loki finally figured out the DVD player and got Pirates of the Caribbean playing. It was actually one of Darcy’s favourites, but she’d never tell Loki that. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.

He turned, and his eyes caught the taser in her hand, but he said nothing.

“Come near me, and I swear I will tase the shit out of you,” Darcy threatened.

Loki rolled his eyes again and sat back in his corner. For a moment, Darcy wondered if he’d even slept at all that night. She wondered why she cared.

The two of them sat in absolute silence through the movie, neither saying so much as a word to one another. And then of course, someone started pounding on the door just as Jack Sparrow shouted about blowing holes in his ship. If she wasn’t so annoyed and freaked out about everything else, Darcy would have actually felt smug over being right about Clint showing up early.

She waved at Loki, barely waiting for him to hide in the bathroom before she got up and threw the door wide open to give Clint her best glare.

“Start getting ready, girlie,” Clint said. He probably thought he was so clever. Darcy wondered if she could tase him and get away with it.

“Are you letting Jane go out to do science today?” she asked.

“Not yet,” Clint said.

He’d probably go all ninja spy on her before she even tried to tase him. Stupid secret agents.

“No science, no Darcy,” she said. She didn’t want to be stuck in the room with Loki all day, but she wanted even less for him to be there alone all day. He was absolutely certifiable, and there was no telling what he’d do if left to himself for long enough.

Clint rolled his eyes. Darcy was getting real sick of people rolling their eyes at her.

“You’re just gonna stay here all day?” he asked.

“Yep.” Darcy held her chin up in what she hoped was a suitably defiant gesture. “The contract I signed with Jane, and not you, says I only have to be in the lab when science is happening. If I’m gonna be bored all day, I’ll at least be bored in the comfort of my bed.”

Clint stared at her for a long moment, before shaking his head. “Whatever. Worst mission ever.”

“Worst internship ever,” Darcy grumbled. She shut the door, hoping Clint would go away and not knock again. As soon as she re-locked the bolt, she nearly fell to the ground. She braced herself against the door and just focused on not hyperventilating. After that performance, she deserved an Oscar.

“When this is over, you are paying me my weight in gold,” Darcy said.

Loki peered out of the bathroom. He looked around the room quickly before his eyes fell on her, where they lingered almost obscenely.

“Very well,” he said. It wasn’t the reaction Darcy expected, and she wasn’t sure how to respond to it.

She tried to shake it off as she sat heavily back on the bed. “Well, either way, you have got to go somewhere else. This is getting way too freaky for me.”

Loki walked up to the window and pushed the curtain aside to peer out. “They’re back,” he said quietly.

Darcy wasn’t even aware that they’d left, assuming he was talking about the spooks across the street. She absolutely refused to think about the fact that Loki was pretty much just as trapped as she was. She wouldn’t let him be the victim here.

Except he kind of was.

Except she wasn’t thinking about that.

“You’re seriously saying that you did some freaky magic thing to the window, but you can’t do some freaky magic thing to yourself so you can leave?” she asked.

Loki didn’t answer her. Instead, he looked at whatever freaky magic thing he’d done to the window, and frowned at it.

“I should probably refresh that, actually,” he said. He didn’t sound very thrilled about it, though. But if he’d done what Darcy thought he’d done, she couldn’t really blame him there, either.

“What happens if you don’t?” Darcy asked.

Loki shrugged. That was real encouraging.

“Okay. Well.” Darcy took a deep breath and tried to sound like she didn’t think she was about to say something totally stupid. “I’m gonna have some breakfast. I guess if you promise to stay on your side of the bed, you can sit up here too, so you don’t have to eat on the floor.”

Loki turned, and even bowed, but she was pretty sure he was mocking her. “How very gracious of you,” he said. Totally mocking her.

“Yeah, well I’m still mad at you. And I meant what I said about the taser.” She picked it up again, just to get the point across.

“Understood,” Loki said.

Darcy waited for him to walk around the bed before she got up to go dig through the fridge. She grabbed the rest of the chicken, not even caring about the time of day, and piled it all onto one of her cheap plates. While she waited for it to heat up, she pulled the last two cans of Pepsi out and tossed one onto the bed for Loki.

“How does it work?” he asked suddenly.

Darcy wasn’t sure she knew what he was talking about. “What, the microwave?” she asked.

“Your weapon. What does it do?” He was looking at the taser, on the floor by her feet, but he didn’t seem like he was about to make a grab for it. She’d be able to get it faster, anyway.

“Oh, uh. It shoots these barbs into the person’s skin and electrocutes the fuck out of them.” She looked down at the device and almost laughed. “I used it on Thor when we first met him. Man, he went down hard.”

For a second, Loki looked almost annoyed, but it was quickly chased away by something that could have been amusement. “You met Thor in combat?” he asked.

Darcy did laugh. “I knocked his ass out. And if that thing works on him, it’ll work on anyone.”

Loki laughed as well, and when he inclined his head this time, it seemed a little more genuine. Darcy wasn’t sure what to make of that either, aside from maybe the fact that now Loki might think twice about trying to cop a feel.

The microwave beeped and Darcy pulled out the plate and put it down on the bed, not even caring that it might get a little bit of grease on the blanket. As soon as Loki was gone, Darcy was going to request full service from the housekeeping staff. And maybe suggest that they burn everything, just to be safe.

“Mmm, breakfast of champions,” she said to herself as she walked back round to the far side of the bed, sitting as close to the edge as possible. Loki was doing pretty much the same, so at least there was plenty of space between them.

He held his Pepsi in his hands and turned it over a few times, examining the can.

“How do you open it?” he asked.

“Like this.” Darcy showed him by opening hers. Loki nodded and copied her, seeming strangely pleased at getting it right.

When Thor learned these little things, he’d been kind of cute. Like a lost puppy who just learned a new truck. Loki just managed to look smug. Which was weird, because who looked smug about opening a can of Pepsi?

Darcy just wished he’d go away. When he wasn’t freaking her out, he was confusing her, and she didn’t like either.

She intended to sit back and watch the rest of her movie, but for some reason, her mouth wouldn’t shut up.

“So. Any plans?” she asked.

Loki looked over at her expectantly, and she could practically see what he was thinking.

“That don’t involve me driving you to Canada,” she amended.

“That rather depends on what sort of distraction I can conjure up,” he said distantly.

“I’m not going to be your hostage and your distraction,” Darcy said.

Loki frowned. “You’re my hostage?” he asked. And maybe he was just playing her, but his confusion seemed genuine. And that just made Darcy’s head hurt.

“I—Yeah?” Wasn’t she? Darcy didn’t even know anymore.

Loki just hummed, like he was thinking that over. He picked up a piece of chicken and pulled at some of the meat, eating with his fingers like he’d grown up doing it.

“If you were my hostage, wouldn’t that mean you’d have to do as I say?” he asked.

“Well, I’m not gonna,” Darcy said.

“Very well.” And what the hell did that mean? Since when did he start being so… agreeable? Not that it was a bad thing that he wasn’t trying to freak her out, but it was still kind of freaking her out.

She pretended she hadn’t heard him and picked up a wing, making a bit more of a mess than Loki did. Not that she cared.

They watched the rest of the movie in a slightly more comfortable silence. Or at least, Darcy watched the movie, while Loki started digging through the bedside table and flipping through the phone book and Bible with a mixture of distaste and curiosity. Darcy was pretty sure Loki couldn’t figure out what the two had to do with one another, or why they were both left hidden away in the same drawer, but she figured she’d just let him ponder on that in silence.

When the movie was over, the player skipped right on over to Dead Man’s Chest, and Darcy let it. She was actually starting to feel kind of tired again, but she figured that was probably because it was still stupidly early, and she’d just eaten. It also meant she was kind of dozing off again when someone knocked on the door. Loudly.

“Shit,” she hissed, jumping up and wide awake.

Loki didn’t even have to be told that time, and slipped back into the bathroom to hide. Darcy looked out of the little hole in the door, somehow not surprised to see Clint glaring sourly at nothing in particular. Of course it was Clint. She thought she’d made herself clear about going in, but apparently not.

She unlocked the door, and as soon as she opened it, Clint pushed his way inside with a fucking bow in his hands. Like he was some modern-day Robin Hood or something. Darcy yelped loudly as she jumped out of the way, and then actually screamed when Sitwell grabbed her.

“No, Darcy. It’s okay,” Sitwell said. He tried to guide her away from the door as some other bald guy in a black suit walked in. SHIELD apparently attracted bald guys.

“You’re safe now,” Sitwell said, trying to turn her so she couldn’t see Clint with his bow, or the other guy with his gun. “The kid from the pizza place said he saw Loki here the night before last. Is he still here?”

He didn’t sound like he was there to arrest her. He sounded like he was there to rescue her. Darcy almost wanted to cry. The only reason she didn’t answer Sitwell was because she was afraid if she tried to say anything, she would cry.

“Gig’s up, Loki. Come on out, and I’ll only shoot you once,” Clint said, pulling back the bowstring just a little bit more.

There was a loud crash from the bathroom, and Darcy turned quickly to see Loki holding the fucking shower rod like it was some sort of ninja stick.

“Oh my god, help,” Darcy said. For a second, everything seemed to almost go green. She buried her face in her hands and wished she could just go back to before Thor ever landed in the desert. To when her life actually made sense.

“It’s okay,” Sitwell repeated. “You’re gonna come with me, and Loki’s going to go with Deems and Barton, and everything will be just fine.”

Darcy wasn’t sure what ‘just fine’ meant, but she didn’t really care. She just wanted to go away. Before she could say anything, Loki shouted loudly and lunged forward. He hooked the shower rod into Clint’s bow, pulling it away from him, and causing the arrow to fire into the floor. He swung the rod around, pulling Clint off balance and smashing the free end into Agent Deems’ face.

Sitwell reached for his own gun and put just enough distance between himself and Darcy for Loki to grab her and pull her close. Darcy screamed as everything went very dark and very loud.