Darcy was pretty sure her ears popped so hard they were going to start bleeding. Which probably wasn’t a good thing. She kind of liked being able to use her ears.

She expected to hear gunfire, but all she heard was just white noise screaming at her from all directions. And she couldn’t see a damn thing. The first thing that registered after her eardrums nearly burst was the cold. But not the stinging cold she was used to. This was a wet, permeating cold, with sideways rain. Or maybe it only seemed sideways because someone was pressed up against her side and holding onto her like it was the end of the world. For all she knew, it was.

She managed to open her eyes to find that someone was Loki, and that no, it was definitely raining sideways. Darcy had no idea where they were, other than somewhere old. Not ancient old, but still. Kinda old. Red brick buildings with white stone arches everywhere, and the street was actually made of cobblestone. She and Loki stood just underneath a bridge that looked like the kind of place people went to get mugged. Or thrown under a train, she realised. They were standing right on the tracks, which were pressed down into the road.

“What the fuck? Where are we?” Darcy asked. She looked around, but all she really noticed was that they were at least lucky enough that only a few people were around to see them apparently appear out of nowhere. And most of them were too busy paying attention to the dog dressed up as Elvis, howling along while his owner strummed out Hound Dog on his guitar. If anyone did notice, they didn’t seem to care.

“I don’t know,” Loki said. His voice sounded wrong. Looking up at him, Darcy saw why. He looked like he had been thrown under a train. He was almost as bad as when she’d first picked him up, only without the blood. She was pretty sure he was about to puke, actually.

Well, great. She tried to nudge him over to the low platform behind them, if for no other reason than to get them off of the tracks and back out of the rain. He stumbled against her and nearly tripped over the raised edge, but somehow they both managed to stay on their feet.

“Hey, did you just do freaky magic stuff?” Darcy realised aloud. “You said you couldn’t do freaky magic stuff! Fucking liar.”

“I don’t…” Loki swayed heavily, nearly pulling Darcy off her feet anyway. “I’ll be fine.”

Darcy tried to steady him, not entirely believing him. She remembered that flash of green she’d seen in the hotel room, at the time thinking it was just her imagination. But it must have been Loki, right before he bamfed them to God-knew-where.

She didn’t have her handbag. She didn’t have her taser. She didn’t even have shoes. They were both just standing there, under some bridge in the rain, in pyjamas. Darcy rather inappropriately realised that she was glad she tended to wear men’s pyjamas, on account of women’s pyjamas not being allowed to have pockets. At least it meant that Loki wasn’t wearing what amounted to flannel capris, so they didn’t look completely nuts.

Actually, one guy on the other side of the tracks was wearing one of those flappy-eared beanie hats and shorts, so maybe they didn’t stand out so badly after all. Darcy wondered if that guy was even cold.

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know where we are,” Darcy said, trying to find anything around her that might have given her a clue. The sign announcing the stop only said Skidmore Fountain, which told her exactly nothing. “Where are we?”

Loki shook his head. “As far away as I could manage.”

They were under a bridge, so Darcy was glad that he hadn’t put them down in whatever river was probably nearby. She figured she’d yell at him about that later, but they couldn’t just stay where they were. Darcy breathed in deeply a few times and looked around again. There was some sort of big machine standing at the centre of the platform that was probably for tickets. Maybe if she was lucky, she’d find the last person’s change in it.

She considered just leaving Loki where he was and letting him fend for himself, but he kept hanging on like a giant leech as she walked over to the machine. No-one had left their change in it, and the machine wanted two dollars she didn’t have. And that was just for one ticket. She wondered how heavily the trains were inspected, since the fares were self-service.

“Is that thing broken again?”

Darcy looked up to see a guy wearing glasses without lenses and the most godawful ugly shirt ever. She wondered if he had a moustache tattooed on his finger.

“No, I…” She shifted out from under Loki’s weight on her shoulder and got an idea. “My friend’s really sick, and my dad just freaked out on us. We just need to get to my friend’s house, but she’s way out in butt-fuck nowhere.”

The hipster pretty-decent-guy-actually frowned and pulled out his wallet. But instead of cash, he pulled out a little book of pink, paper tickets and tore two of them out.

“Oh my god, are you serious? Thank you so much,” Darcy said, taking the tickets from him.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said, shaking his head. “I get a month pass from work now anyway.”

“Thank you. Again,” Darcy said. She waited for the guy to leave before inspecting one of the tickets to see if it needed to be stamped. It did, so she spent another few seconds trying to figure out how the machine worked.

“You owe me so much,” Darcy grumbled to Loki. She wanted to scrub her tongue just for calling him her friend.

Loki shifted against her, and she was pretty sure he was using her as a human crutch. “I’m already giving you your weight in gold.”

“Yeah, well, I think you should double it,” Darcy said curtly. She put the stamped tickets into her pocket and tried to wiggle out of Loki’s grip, but he just held on even tighter.

“Fine,” he said.

Darcy tried to ignore her hanger-on and looked around again. There was a sign almost right above them that she hadn’t noticed before, probably because it wasn’t lit. But she could still make out the the letters in the dark, glass tubes. Apparently, they were in Portland. That narrowed it down to either the East Coast or the West Coast. Annoyingly, it meant they were closer to Canada either way. Damn Loki, always getting his damn way.

“I hate you so much,” she said quietly.

“I know.”

Darcy almost wanted to laugh.

She didn’t even hear the train until it was almost right there, ringing its bell as it slowed down to stop at the platform. A recorded woman announced the stop and which side of the train the doors were on, and then a recorded man repeated it in Spanish as a few people shuffled out of the train. Once the doors were clear, Darcy nudged Loki inside and took the first empty seat. Loki fell heavily next to her and closed his eyes like he was about to go to sleep.

“If you pass out, I’m leaving you here,” she told him.

“No you won’t,” Loki said. He definitely sounded like he was about to fall asleep.

The train started forward with a small lurch and a high-pitched whirring sound, and for the first time since Clint nearly busted her door down, Darcy had time to actually think about what was going on. Her chest grew tight as she realised that she had been well and truly kidnapped this time, with no way of getting back. Loki probably wouldn’t even let go of her long enough to let her sneak off to a pay phone. She guessed if she did get the chance, she could probably call Jane. Then she felt bad for not thinking to call her mother.

And then she wondered if anyone had even told her mother what had happened. Were they telling her right now? She hoped it wasn’t Coulson. Sitwell would at least be friendly about it. Or would they fob it off to someone who was actually in New York?

And then she realised that if they hadn’t got to it already, at five o’clock, her Tumblr was about to make them realise that she might not have been as kidnapped as they thought she was. Which was just as fucking ironic as it got, since now she’d actually been kidnapped. Maybe if she was lucky, she could get to a computer and delete the post from her account before it went live. Or at least before SHIELD saw it.

So many bad choices in such a short amount of time. Maybe it was a good thing she wouldn’t be finishing her degree now. She’d probably make a terrible politician.

She turned to look out the window behind her, hoping to get a better idea of where they were. As they passed through an intersection, the Oregon plates on the cars gave her a little bit of hope, and another idea. Another terrible, terrible idea, but it was the best option. She knew there were people in Portland who could help her, if she could find them. Darcy turned round to the young woman in a seat to her right and waved her fingers at her.

“Hey. Do you know where the tide mark is?” she asked.

The woman shook her head and gave Darcy a confused look. “No, sorry. Is that a club?”

“No. Thanks, though.” Darcy smiled tightly at her and tried to nudge Loki off her shoulder again.

They crossed a bridge, and the river Loki nearly put them into, and stopped under yet another bridge. Darcy supposed it made sense, actually. It kept people out of the rain, at least.

More people got onto the train with their huge bags and their weirdly tall bikes, and took up entirely too much room.

“Hey, do you guys know where the tide mark is?” she asked the guy with the enormous bike.

“What, in the river?” he asked. “Does the river have tides?”

Darcy shrugged. “I dunno,” she said.

“No, it has tides. I’m sure of it,” his lady-friend said.

Darcy let them argue over whether or not rivers had tides and settled back into her seat. She had no idea where they were even going, but she figured they could at least ride around on the train until someone finally kicked them off. At least they’d had breakfast before Loki bamfed them away to what might as well have been Narnia. She was pretty sure someone was even playing a pan flute elsewhere in the car. It sounded like a pan flute, anyway. Or at least, what she imagined a pan flute must sound like.

The bike guy and his lady-friend got off a few stops later, and this time the station was under a highway overpass. Darcy was definitely starting to think that sheltering the stops under bridges was deliberate at this point. No-one else got on though, so she couldn’t ask her nonsense question again.

Once the train got moving, a guy in a big, baggy hoodie walked down the aisle. “Get off at Gateway,” he said as he passed Darcy and walked to the other end of the car to sit back down.

Darcy nodded, not even sure if he was watching her. She had no idea where Gateway was, but she was pretty sure she knew why she’d been told to get off there. She nudged Loki, hoping to wake him up a little bit.

“Seriously, you so owe me,” she said.

He didn’t answer her. She didn’t really care. She just tried to settle in as much as possible and listened to the stops being called out, trying not to be absolutely terrified about somehow walking into a trap.