Darcy couldn’t believe how quickly six o’clock came. It was like time had sped up in a huge hurry just for that one day. They had time for lunch, then a trip to Walmart for a pre-paid credit card, the Salvation Army for backpacks full of clothes and a few books so she didn’t go completely bonkers, and back to Tina and Kevin’s to try and fail to convince Loki to do something about his hair. “Something” eventually became just shoving a beanie onto his head and not letting him take it off, making him look like the world’s grumpiest emo kid.
They left the house around five, driving down slick, crowded freeways to the train station. It wound up being not terribly far from where Darcy and Loki had started out, and now that she wasn’t dealing with the possibility of having a dying alien on her hands, she was able to look out at the city as it passed. Portland was huge, but not very tall; sprawling, and yet still dense, but with room to grow and breathe still.
While Darcy anxiously watched out the backseat window, Loki sat on the other side of the car watching everything else on the freeway suspiciously. He glared out the window, tracking each car as it overtook them or was overtaken, as if expecting any one of them to jump its lane and plough right into them. But since he wasn’t messing with his hat anymore, Darcy ignored him, letting him be suspicious of everything. It was about time he shared some of that misery.
The train station itself with a large red-brown building, with a tall clock tower in the middle. Kevin found a place to park, but even after he stopped the engine, it was a long time before anybody opened their doors.
“Okay,” said Tina finally. Suddenly, Darcy realised that this was probably their first time dealing with this sort of thing too. She wasn’t sure if she felt better or worse about that.
“Okay,” Tina repeated, a bit more calmly this time. “We’re going to go get the tickets. You guys can wait in the terminal while we do that. It’ll be under our names, which will get you on the train, but if they do an ID check while you’re on the train…”
Darcy knew what Tina didn’t want to say.
“Right,” she said. “Maybe we can manage to dodge them somehow. If we’re lucky.”
She hadn’t even thought about ID checks. How were they even supposed to get out of the country? Suddenly, there were so many other ways everything could go terribly, terribly wrong.
Loki looked over at her with that confused look on his face again. It was starting to give the impression that he didn’t like to ask questions and look like he didn’t know all the answers to everything.
“You need… paperwork to travel,” Darcy told him. “Verifying who you are. You don’t have any of that, and mine’s in New Mexico.”
Even if it wasn’t, she wouldn’t be able to use it. She was probably on every watch list in the country by now.
Loki scowled at the answer he was given. They probably didn’t have photo ID in space. Darcy wondered if they even had trains.
“We ready?” Tina asked.
Darcy inhaled deeply, trying to steel herself for what had to be done. “No,” she said honestly. She opened the door anyway and stepped out to the parking lot, with Loki quickly following after her. Almost immediately, his hand was around her wrist again, squeezing tight enough that she knew it would bruise even through her hoodie.
“Ow, no,” she said, trying to pull his hand away. She managed to get his hand away from her wrist, and instead clamped around her own hand. “Still ow. But whatever.”
She managed to reach past him and pulled both their bags out from the back seat. “You need this,” she told him, handing him his.
He looked down at the bag as if it had personally offended him, but Darcy didn’t care. She rolled her eyes and shut the car door so she could pull Loki along after Tina and Kevin. Inside the terminal, it was warmer than she expected. There were people waiting on benches for their trains, and some hanging out at a small cafe on one end. Tina went over to a blue kiosk and used the pre-paid card to get the tickets, before passing them over to Darcy.
“Good luck,” she said. She looked down at the card and handed it over as well. “I think there’s about fifteen bucks left on it. You might need it.”
Darcy took both of them, and then managed to break away from Loki’s grip long enough to hug Tina.
“Thanks,” she said. She hugged Kevin for good measure after, and was surprised when he hugged back.
“Watch out. Don’t get caught,” he said.
Darcy nodded. “We’ll try.”
With another deep breath, she turned around to look for the platforms. “All right. Come on.” To keep Loki from grabbing her wrist again, she preemptively took his hand and led him through the doors back out to the rain. According to the giant clock tower, it was only about five minutes before their train left. Darcy looked around, suddenly seeing spies and secret agents again. What she wouldn’t give for Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.
“Hey,” she said suddenly, looking up at Loki. “That thing you did, to keep people from seeing in the hotel. Could you do that to us? Like, keep people from noticing us.”
Loki considered it, looking down at his free hand. “Not easily,” he said. He rubbed his fingers together and frowned deeply. “It’s not the right sort of magic. It wouldn’t bind correctly.”
Darcy had no idea what that meant, but it didn’t sound good. “Oh,” she said. “So, like. Not at all?”
“Not without my magic,” Loki said, clearly becoming irritated.
Darcy decided to do the smart thing and drop the subject. She pulled Loki under the awning as the train pulled up, squealing to a halt as steel scraped against steel. Loki frowned indignantly at the whole affair, as if it too had insulted him.
“It’s like the one we were on yesterday, but bigger. That’s all,” Darcy said.
Loki looked down at her. “What?”
Darcy started to answer, but didn’t want to get into it. “Never mind,” she said.
A conductor stepped out onto the platform and announced boarding to Seattle, while a small group of passengers all stepped off after him. Darcy tugged Loki along and handed him the ticket, immediately getting a deep, irritated scowl from him.
“You didn’t check in,” he said, looking down at the ticket.
“What?” asked Darcy. Wasn’t getting the ticket what you had to do to check in? “But we have the tickets.”
The conductor sighed. “You need to check in,” he told her.
Darcy looked up to Loki, not sure what he’d even be able to do.
“I… I don’t know. How do you do that?” she asked. Suddenly everything felt too hot, and too close, and she could feel Loki getting ready to run and drag her with. She tried to steady him by pulling him closer, but she wasn’t sure it would work.
The conductor let out an even bigger sigh and rolled his eyes. “Twenty five and twenty six. Upstairs,” he said, scribbling something on their tickets.
Darcy could barely stop her hands from shaking as she took them back and nodded. “Thanks. We’ll remember that next time.” They were waved on by the conductor and stepped aboard the train. On the inside, it was more like a Greyhound than any of the commuter trains or subways she’d ever been on. Rows of large blue seats down either side of the carriage, with a stairwell down on either end. Barely able to breathe, and trying to ignore everyone watching them as they made their way down to the end of the carriage, she led Loki up the stairs and quickly found their seats. She decided after all that, she should get the window. She deserved it.
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