Darcy sat at the kitchen table, looking out at the over-grown back yard. She’d watched as the sky outside had gone from dark and grey to just plain dark, and now all she could see was what was lit by the porch light. There was a small cement patio, piled high with old deck chairs, empty flower pots, and three very sad-looking bicycles, made all the more sad-looking by the ceaseless rain. She was pretty sure it hadn’t actually stopped since her arrival that morning. She wondered how common floods and landslides and sinkholes were, if this is what the weather was like all the time. One thing that could be said though, was that everything sure was green.
And Kevin and Tina both said this was what the weather was like all the time. “Welcome to Oregon,” Kevin said, laughing. Maybe it was one of those jokes that were only funny if you lived there, or maybe Darcy was just too stressed out to find anything funny. She wasn’t actually sure.
While Kevin messaged back and forth with someone over some programme Darcy had never seen before, Tina started making some tea with a big, cast-iron kettle on the stove. Darcy usually just microwaved a cup of water.
“Is there anywhere you guys were trying to go?” Tina asked as she dug through a wicker basket full of a million different kinds of teabags.
Darcy shook her head. “No, I think we were just trying to go,” she said. She looked back out at the rain. “No, wait. Yes. He said he needed to get to, um. Shit. Tor…shaw? Tor-shavin?”
Darcy jumped hard at the sound of Loki’s voice. She hadn’t even heard him walk in, and had no idea how long he’d been standing there. It couldn’t have been very long, though. She didn’t think.
He looked absolutely miserable, though. He was still really pale, and had dark circles under his eyes. He was also completely naked, save for a blanket he’d wrapped around his waist. Darcy tapped her fingers on the table, in front of the chair across from her. It took Loki a moment, but he eventually got the hint and shuffled over to sit. Well, not so much sit. More like collapse like he was about to pass out again.
“So, I guess going around naked’s one of those space Viking thing, huh?” Darcy asked.
Loki looked up at her with the look on his face that said he had no idea what anything she’d said even meant. Darcy half-wondered if he’d forgotten how to speak English again.
“Never mind,” Darcy said. She turned her attention back to Tina. “He said he needs to get to this Torshaow place. I’ve never heard of it before, but it’s like, by Norway or something, I think.”
“Get me to Tórshavn,” Loki said, not even bothering to make it sound like a request. At least he still understood what was going on around him.
Darcy rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Sorry, they don’t have manners in space. His brother was the same way until we housebroke him.”
This time, it was Loki’s turn to roll his eyes. Tina didn’t really seem to care either way, which just made Darcy wonder if they actually did this sort of thing a lot. People on the run were probably always grumpy. Darcy felt pretty grumpy, anyway. Setting a big mug full of steamy, hot tea on the table, Tina just smiled almost sadly. Before retreating back to the kitchen, she stopped to press her hand against Loki’s forehead, only be shrugged off and pushed away almost immediately. Darcy figured she’d try to be helpful and got up to try the same thing. For some weird reason Darcy did not even want to contemplate, Loki let her feel his forehead with no more fuss than just a quiet glower.
“You do feel really cold,” Darcy said as she sat back down.
“I’m fine,” Loki said. There was a weird kind of almost self-loathing to the way he said it though. Almost like being fine annoyed him.
She wasn’t sure she wanted to believe that, but she didn’t know how to argue the fact that he felt like he’d had his head stuck in a fridge for the last half hour.
“You guys need to get to Norway?” Tina asked. She put another mug of tea down in front of Loki and backed off to get out of his space. Somehow, Darcy was glad to know that she wasn’t the only one kind of creeped out by Loki. Darcy watched him as he sniffed at the tea, and half-expected him to just down the whole thing and smash the cup. Instead, he just treated it suspiciously, like he wasn’t sure if he liked it or not.
“Well.” Darcy sighed and took a careful sip of her own tea. It was too hot, and over-sweet, and absolutely perfect. “It’s kind of by Norway, I think. It looked like it was, like, on an island somewhere over there? I spent about thirty seconds on Google after he grouched at me about it. I was going to try to point him in the direction of Canada before SHIELD broke down my hotel room door.”
Tina nodded and chewed on her lip for a few seconds. “Do you guys think you can get to Seattle?” she asked.
‘You guys.’ Darcy really didn’t like that, because she was trying to avoid thinking about how completely fucked she was. They were in this together now, whether she wanted to be or not. She looked over at Loki, who actually looked hopeful, and Darcy hated him for it.
“I don’t have any money. At all,” she said. “I mean, everything I had, SHIELD’s got right now.” She sighed deeply and took another drink of her tea. It wasn’t really doing its magic healing soothing thing, but maybe it took more time.
Loki looked like he was about to say something, but Darcy held up her hand to silence him. “If you say the word ‘slave’ one more time, you’re getting hot tea right in your face,” she warned.
Loki no longer looked like he wanted to say anything at all. From where she leaned against the counter in the kitchen, Tina was giving Darcy a questioning look, so Darcy just shook her head. How do you even start to explain that the alien sitting at the kitchen table is one of the asshole gods the Vikings used to worship? Darcy didn’t even want to start.
Loki started snapping his fingers again, making frustrated little noises. It looked like whatever sparks he’d managed to make happen before were gone again, which meant she got to listen to him snapping his fingers constantly again.
“Hey, Kev,” Tina said suddenly. “What are ticket prices right now?”
“What? No,” Darcy protested. She was broke and stranded, but flying to Seattle on someone else’s dime seemed like pushing some serious karmic luck.
Tina shook her head. “We can’t take you up there, but we might be able to get you there. There’s a guy up there who can get you into Canada. After that, I’m not sure.”
But it was a start, and Darcy recognised that. And these people were offering to help them, when doing so could get them in serious trouble. Especially after they’d already done so much. Kevin would probably go to jail for years for what he’d already done. They both would.
“I have gold, if that is what you desire,” Loki said, cutting Darcy off before she could start. It was enough to make her completely forget about her reservations.
“You have gold?” she asked dubiously.
Loki looked down at his hands again and frowned. “Yes,” he said. And Darcy got it. He had gold, but not that he could get to. Not without his weird mutant powers or whatever.
“My magic returns to me, but slowly. Once in Tórshavn, I will have access to a great hoard, and you will be rewarded for your assistance. This I swear on my name,” Loki said. And he sounded just like Thor when he spoke, like he really was some sort of royal space prince. King. Whatever. Royal pain in the ass.
“Oh. Uhm.” Tina shook her head and shrugged, looking suddenly very confused.
“It’s a long, weird story,” Darcy said. “He’s basically a Viking, and he’s from outer space. There were a bunch of them down in New Mexico a few weeks ago. You get used to it.”
“I see,” Tina said. She didn’t sound like she did.
“Thirty-three bucks,” Kevin said suddenly.
It took Darcy a moment to realise what his weird non-sequitur meant. That was a cheap-ass flight.
“Wow,” she said. “What airline is that?”
Kevin shook his head. “No, Amtrak. Too much security trying to get on a plane. Same price for the Hound, but the train’s faster, and you probably won’t wind up next to some guy who pissed his paints waiting at the station.”
Darcy laughed, but she wasn’t sure why. “Yeah, that sounds gross. Let’s not do that.”
Loki was looking to her for an explanation, and with everything else going on lately, she thought it would almost be cruel not to oblige.
“Kinda like the thing we got on when you brought us here. But faster, and it won’t stop as often,” she said. “But the thing about really cheap transportation is that you might wind up sitting next to someone who’s been travelling for about a week without a shower. If you spend more money, you can fly, and get there in just a few hours instead. But you have to spend, like, a lot more money.
Loki nodded, but he didn’t really seem like he fully understood.
“And this will get us to Tórshavn?” he asked.
“No,” said Darcy slowly. “This will get us to Seattle. And from there we can figure out how to get to Torshaow. It’s still clear on the other side of the planet.”
Loki frowned. “Right.”
The level of suck Darcy was going to have to endure was only going to keep rising. She could already tell.
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