It was becoming a strange habit to have not realised that she’d fallen asleep until something woke her suddenly. A strange habit she wasn’t comfortable with having, but when she was jarred awake suddenly, her mind wasn’t anywhere near that topic. It was focused on the strange sounds coming from Dennis’ room. Sounds like he was moving stuff around at oh-god-o’clock in the morning. Darcy sat up quickly and looked over to Dennis’ room and the yellow light coming from under the door. For a few moments, she tried to convince herself she was just being paranoid, but either she was getting worse at lying to herself, or Dennis was letting off some serious creeper vibes. One more weird scrape from Dennis’ room, and Loki sat straight up and stared at the bedroom door as well.

Or maybe he just wasn’t as passed out as Darcy had thought.

"What’s he doing?" Darcy asked quietly.

Loki glared at the door for a few moments longer before getting up onto the sofa. Darcy started to protest, but Loki held his hand over her mouth as he settled down between her and the back of the sofa.

"How badly do we need him?" Loki asked quietly in her ear. He slowly removed his hand from her mouth, leaving Darcy wondering who would be the worst option to get stuck with.

At least Loki had proven reasonably manageable. Dennis was a complete unknown, and ultimately the bigger risk. Even with Loki pressed against her, holding her against his chest to keep her from running away, he still seemed like the safer option.

"I don’t think we can get lucky again," Darcy whispered.

Loki’s grip tightened briefly, but luckily he seemed to be getting the hint that humans were fragile and not to be squeezed.

"If you did your vanishing thing, how far could you go?" Darcy asked him.

Again, she felt him tense up around her.

"Not far enough," he said.

"How badly do you need me?" Darcy asked before she could stop herself. As soon as she said it, she wished she hadn’t, but there was no way to take it back so she just ploughed on. "I just… I just want to hear it from you. I need to know if you’re just going to kill me when you’re done with me."

Loki made a sound that seemed almost amused. Still holding her down, he used his free hand to pet her hair. It was weirdly invasive and violating, and somehow even worse than being held down by him. Darcy closed her eyes tightly and waited for him to just get it over with, but he seemed content to just pet her hair.

"Why? Do you intend to turn on me?" he asked, his mouth so close to her ear, she could feel the vibrations of his voice in her skin.

"No," she said, having to force the word out in a terrified squeak.

"Why not?"

Darcy wasn’t sure what the right answer was, and was too afraid of giving the wrong answer to speak. Loki apparently found her abject terror funny, because he laughed and kept on petting her hair.

"You are far more useful to me alive than dead. Why should I want to kill you?" he asked, still whispering but weirdly casual despite it.

Darcy wanted to cry, but she was too scared to manage even that. "Please stop," she choked out.

To her surprise, Loki did. He pulled his hand away from her head, and even loosened his grip around her. Darcy almost tried to dart away and put as much distance between them as possible, but a loud scrape and clacking sound from Dennis’ room made her freeze in place. Darcy could feel herself trembling, and was pissed that she wasn’t even sure which creep scared her more.

"How useful am I?" she asked again.

Loki took a long moment to answer, but at least he didn’t start petting her again. "Useful enough," he decided.

Darcy had no idea what that was supposed to mean, but she couldn’t bring herself to question him further. She knew what the next question would have been, but suddenly she couldn’t find her voice.

“Sleep,” Loki said, settling down beside her.

“I can’t,” Darcy told him.

Loki seemed relaxed enough that Darcy thought she might have been able to get away if she was fast enough. She told herself that the reason she didn’t try was because the floor was way nasty and too gross to sleep on.

“Then keep watch,” Loki said. Completely unfairly, because Darcy did not want to do that either.

So far, her entire acquaintance with Loki had been defined by a complete lack of sleep, bruises she never wanted to try to explain, and being constantly felt up.

“Hands to yourself,” she grumbled, trying to push Loki’s hand away from her. Of course, with the way they were crammed up against one another on the sofa, anywhere his hand was, he was touching her somewhere. Like everything else, she decided to just ignore that as well, while at the same time trying to ignore the psychopath serial killer in the next room.

For the next few hours, she drifted in and out of sleep, never managing to actually stay asleep for long. She finally decided she didn’t want to sleep at all when she realised that the lump snoring into her ear was also popping the biggest boner ever, and it was digging right into her thigh. Trying not to gag, Darcy slammed her elbow back into Loki’s ribs and sat up quickly.

“Augh, that’s enough of that,” she said.

Loki groaned and sat up slowly, looking at her like he had no idea why she’d just slugged him. Darcy wasn’t buying it for a second.

The clock on the cable box said it was just after 5:30, which meant that Darcy was in for another day of hell. More importantly, it was a cable box, which meant there was cable TV to be watched. She managed to find the remote in all the junk on the end table and turned on the TV, hitting the mute button at exactly the right time to blat out an indecipherable noise that could wake the dead, before everything went silent. She slowly turned up the volume, finding the perfect balance between not waking everyone else up and still being able to hear. While Loki tried to go back to sleep, Darcy flipped through the channels, finding nothing but infomercials, regular commercials, and shows about Jesus.

“Wait.” Something caught her attention three seconds after she flipped away from the channel, so she flipped back until she found it again. Not that it was hard to find again. Seattle’s own early morning news was playing security camera footage on loop, while the blond newscaster who was way too alert for just after 5:30 in the morning warned residents of a pair of dangerous criminals wanted by federal police.

And wouldn’t you just know it, the security camera footage showed Loki and Darcy wandering around a bus terminal, looking for their driver. They even had zoomed-in and badly-enhanced stills to show everyone.

“Oh, fuck,” Darcy said. She slapped Loki frantically, not even caring where she hit him, so long as he woke up. “Wake up wake up wake up, we’re fucked,” she tried not to shout.

Loki clumsily slapped back as he sat up again. “What are you screeching about now?” he asked.

Before Darcy could answer, Dennis threw open his bedroom door and glared out to the two of them.

“What’s going on?” he asked, still wearing what he’d been wearing the night before.

Darcy pointed frantically at the television. “We have a serious problem.”

Dennis looked at the television, and had he been holding a cup in his hand, Darcy was positive he’d have dropped it.

“Fuck. Yes we do. We have to leave now.” He stepped back into his room just long enough to grab his shoes and rushed back out. “Come on. We have to get out of town while it’s still dark.”

Darcy mashed the power button on the remote as she jumped to her feet and gathered all their things. Suddenly, Loki didn’t seem tired at all, and he even took the bags from her in their rush to leave before SHIELD managed to track them down. They both wound up just carrying their shoes out with them, walking in their socks across a soaked parking lot, but whatever. They had clean socks, and they could put their shoes on in the car. As soon as the doors were unlocked, Darcy and Loki both scrambled into the back seat, again leaving the front one next to Dennis empty. Darcy wasn’t even thinking about why; just that she’d ridden in the back with Loki on the way there, so it seemed like the place to ride on their way out.

She expected Dennis to peel out in a screech of tyres and an over-stressed transmission, but he left calm as ever, as if he was just going to work like everyone else at that time of morning. As they drove through the streets, Darcy kept looking out the windows for police cars or giant, black SUVs, but she saw surprisingly few of either. And those she did see didn’t seem to be interested in them at all.

“Where are we going?” Loki asked as they merged onto the freeway.

“Canada, bro,” Dennis said, either missing the finer points of the problem, or being deliberately difficult.

“Yeah, but uh. We don’t have passports. And are kind of wanted, you know?” Darcy reminded him. “How are we getting to Canada?”

“Ross Lake,” Dennis said.

Loki looked over to Darcy, but she had no idea what that meant either. She knew what a lake was, but had no idea if Ross Lake was a tiny little pond, or the size of a small sea.

“You expect us to swim?” asked Loki.

Dennis sighed, like he was the one being dragged around. “No, we’re taking a boat to a couple miles off the border. Then we’re hiking over the border to meet with your ride.”

“Yeah, okay,” said Darcy, looking down at their wet socks. “Sorry, it’s just this is our first experience with human trafficking. We wanted to know how it works.”

Dennis made a sound that was almost like a laugh, but not really. “I do it all the time. It’s easy.”

Easy, right. Easy like everything else had been so far. Graduating college without dropping out had been easier than this.