Darcy watched for any sign of movement by the door. Lil had been gone for a long time, sending a rising flood of panic through Darcy. Lil had been nice. She even put up with Loki’s bullshit. But all Darcy could think about while left alone with Loki in a freezing SUV were all the ways in which Lil could betray them and sell them out. Darcy didn’t even think she’d be surprised anymore. Her life had gone so horribly wrong, and nothing would ever go right again.

She craned her neck to try to see inside the hotel lobby, but the angle was wrong, and all she could see was wall. How long did it take to check into a hotel room? What if Lil was calling the cops?

What if Lil had been arrested, and the Men in Black were waiting for Darcy to go investigate? Darcy was seriously starting to consider waking Loki and telling him they had to bail again when the lobby door opened. Darcy tensed up, expecting to see government spooks, but instead was surprised to see Lil. She walked back out to the SUV and opened the back to grab her bag, nodding toward the hotel.

“Come on," she said before she closed the back hatch.

Darcy still wasn’t sure if she felt any better, but she leaned over the back seat and nudged at Loki until he woke up.

"Hey, time to go inside," she said when it seemed like he was actually awake.

Loki grumbled something that might not have even been words. "Where are we?" he asked.

"I don’t know. Calgary, I think," Darcy said.

"Where’s that?" asked Loki.

"I don’t know," Darcy repeated.

Loki looked annoyed, but started to get out of the car anyway.

"Grab the bags. And the clothes off the seat," Darcy said as she cleaned up her mess in the front seat as quickly as she could. She contemplated taking her blanket in with her, but decided there would be plenty of warm blankets inside, so she left them.

By the time she was halfway to the door of their ground-level motel room, she turned back and realised that Loki had only grabbed one of their bags, and none of the clothes Darcy had set out to dry. She almost went back for them, but was too cold to bother, and just wanted to get inside and get warm. Once she stepped inside, she realised a problem she hadn’t even considered before. The room only had two beds. Loki pushed right past her and claimed the one farthest from the door for himself, crashing down like he’d already fallen asleep before he was off his feet.

Darcy stalled, trying to make it look like she was just closing the door. She wanted to ask Lil if she could share with her, but she didn’t want to give Lil yet another reason to distrust Loki. Not when there were so many already.

"Hey, would anybody mind if I took a bath for like, an hour?" she asked, instead of dealing with the problem of once again having to share a bed with Loki.

Loki mumbled something and Lil started walking toward the bathroom.

"Yeah, give me a minute first," she said.

While Lil took care of that, Darcy dug through the bag to find something to change into after her bath. It was Loki’s bag, so none of it would fit her, and then he’d be grumpy about not having anything that fit him. Frowning, Darcy crammed it all back into the bag and tossed it against the wall. She had like, eight layers on. The outer layers were probably still clean, at least.

Once the bathroom was free, Darcy barricaded herself inside and started running the tap. Before the bath even filled up, she undressed and stepped inside, not sure if the water was already too hot, or if she was just still that cold. Either way, she was probably going to boil a few layers of skin off, and she didn’t even care. Maybe it would boil the cold right out of her, and take the mildewy smell of lake water with it. As she leaned back in the cramped bath, letting her hair soak, she realised that she could only barely remember falling in, and didn’t even know how she got back out. Someone had to have gone in after her.

She almost thought she remembered Loki going in after her, which made no sense at all. But he was wearing new clothes as well, which meant his were probably soaked and full of fish pee too.

But he seemed fine. She also seemed to remember him just sitting in the snow, so maybe he just didn’t feel the cold like she did.

Maybe that’s why he always felt so cold.

Shivering at the thought of that horrible lake, Darcy nudged the water even hotter with her toes. She couldn’t believe they had only just left Seattle that morning. It had been the longest day ever, in the longest week ever. Darcy closed her eyes and wondered about just giving up. She wondered what would happen if she did. If she just sat down and waited for SHIELD to find her. Maybe she could send Loki out on his own, and he could get where he was going without help.

And maybe she could blow rainbows out of her ass. All he did was sleep and piss people off. He’d get captured or killed in less than an hour.

Once the bath was full to the point of giving the overflow drain something to do, Darcy turned off the water and let herself sink completely beneath the surface. She finally felt warm for what felt like the first time ever, and hoped it would last forever. She pulled herself back up when she needed to breathe again and looked around the sides of the bath. There were no tiny bottles of shampoo, but there was a tiny bar of soap waiting to be unwrapped and used. Darcy scrubbed every inch of herself, and then took the soap to her hair to get the mildew smell out. She knew it would just wreck her hair, but she’d already wrecked it anyway by dying it a stupid colour. She wasn’t sure she could make it any worse, actually.

She rinsed her hair out in and sat up, disgusted at the brown colour in the water that she hoped was from leftover dye. Not wanting to soak in nasty water any longer, she gave up on her extra long bath and drained the water, starting the shower as she got up. She rinsed all the gross-ness off her, and even left some hot water behind when she got out. There was one whole towel waiting for her, which was kind of questionable-looking, but she ignored that and dried off before putting on the hoodie and pyjamas she’d been wearing as an outer layer. It looked kind of cheap and dirty to leave the bath wearing the same thing she had on going in, but she didn’t care. It didn’t smell like lake water, at least.

Back out in the hotel room, Lil was flipping channels on the tiny TV while Loki slept, sprawled out on the bed. Taking a moment to steel herself, Darcy tossed her dirty clothes down by Loki’s bag and sat down next to him.

"Thought you were gonna be in there for longer," Lil said.

Darcy frowned. "The water was gross."

Lil laughed quietly. "Does your friend want to take a shower?" she asked.

Darcy looked over at Loki, not even tempted to ask him. He wasn’t even pretending to be asleep. He was out. He was breathing so shallowly, Darcy almost through he might have just keeled over when no-one was looking.

"No, don’t wake him up. He’s really sick," Darcy said. "I think that’s why he’s so grumpy and horrible all the time."

She looked down at her hands glad that the hoodie sleeves were long enough to cover the bruises Loki had put on her wrists.

"I don’t think he means to be so… mean, you know?" she said.

Lil sighed deeply.

"It changes people," she said. "It’s one thing if someone actually wants it. You get a healing factor, and you’ve won the mutant powers lottery. But you see these kids who kill anything they touch, or they’re physically deformed from their mutation, and those are the people who need it. But when they started using it as a punishment, it just makes things worse. Then you get mutant rights movements that turn into terrorists."

"The bitch of it is, they’re right," Darcy said. It left a bad taste in her mouth to say it out loud, but she’d known for a while that the other, more peaceful methods weren’t working. "Maybe that’s what I’ll do. Help the Rising Tide get this shit fixed."

"We’re always recruiting," Lil said dryly.

Darcy didn’t have to use her imagination to figure out why. She yawned loudly and leaned back against the headboard, careful to avoid actually touching Loki.

"God, today sucks," she complained. "Everything sucks."

"Yeah," Lil agreed. It wasn’t exactly comforting, but at the same time, Darcy was glad it wasn’t more empty reassurance. She’d had just about enough of that for a lifetime.

She glanced over to Loki, where he slept on top of the blankets, and decided it was safe to climb under them. She was starting to get cold again, but was vaguely aware that it was probably just her mind messing with her.

"What time are we leaving tomorrow?" she asked.

Lil looked at the clock on the table between the beds. "Early," she said. "If we don’t hit any storms, we can make it to Winnipeg late tomorrow night."

Darcy already knew the drive was going to suck. "Kay. Then I’m going to bed," she said. She reached over to turn off the lamp, not even caring that the TV was still on. She was asleep before Lil turned it off.