Darcy was pretty sure she was just driving around in circles while she looked for a place that looked like it was open, without being the sort of place they might get spotted.
"Okay, so we have a problem," Darcy said, watching a black SUV drive through the intersection.
"What else is new?" asked Loki grimly.
"We have about a hundred and sixty bucks left," Darcy said. "Which is more than enough for breakfast, but we don’t have any clothes or shoes, and we’re on a quarter of a tank and are gonna need gas real soon."
"Don’t even say it," Loki said.
Darcy turned a corner and drove further into town, passing by houses and and small shops specialty that wouldn’t help them at all.
"We’re kinda screwed," Darcy pointed out. As she stopped at a light, another big, black SUV stopped next to them. Darcy froze, not sure what to do when Coulson looked over and saw her right next to him in her brand new stolen car.
Loki slowly reached over to grab onto her leg again and squeezed hard enough to leave bruises on top of the ones that were already there. He leaned over and looked into the window of the car next to them and shook his head. "It’s not them," he said, letting go of her and sitting back in his seat.
"Are you sure?" Darcy asked, too afraid to look.
"There’s a child licking the glass."
Darcy looked over and almost cried with relief. There was indeed a child licking the back seat window, and now that Darcy looked at the car properly, it was way too old to be one of SHIELD’s. She breathed in sharply and wiped her eyes with both hands, absolutely refusing to lose control in front of Loki. Luckily, he didn’t seem to notice, and was leaning back in his seat with his eyes closed again.
At the green light, Darcy continued her wandering, taking turns at random until she finally came to an area that looked promising. Loki wasn’t in the condition to go into a sit-down restaurant, and even if he had been, they still lacked shoes or real clothes, so she kept looking for a place with a drive through. She finally found a Burger King with a short line at the window and pulled up, looking over the menu and hoping they didn’t insist on serving their nasty breakfast menu until stupidly late.
She considered asking Loki what he wanted, but quickly realised it was stupid. He wanted one of everything, just like he had last time, and given the state he was in, Darcy figured she should try to manage something close to that. When the person on the other end of the speaker finally asked for her order, Darcy ordered the first ten burgers on the menu.
"And what kind of juice do you have?" she asked.
"Apple and orange," the crackly voice responded.
"Apple. The biggest one you’ve got. And a large Pepsi. And two large fries. And like, the biggest thing of chicken nuggets you have," she said, pretty sure she was making the poor cashier think they were being trolled.
Loki watched boredly while Darcy paid at the window, but once the bags were handed over, he was suddenly at full attention. He started digging through the bags while Darcy got the drinks settled, and immediately went for the ginormous box of chicken nuggets.
"No, hey, that’s mine," she said, reaching to take it away from him. She pulled out her carton of fries as well. "The rest is all yours, buddy. And this." She handed him the bottle of apple juice, assuming he’d be able to open it on his own.
Checking to make sure she hadn’t been holding anybody else up, Darcy pulled away from the drive through window and started wandering the streets aimlessly again, looking for anywhere to get the rest of what they needed. Chicken nuggets weren’t the best breakfast, but they were fresh and hot, and so were her fries, so it was miles better than what she’d been having for breakfast lately.
She was about halfway done with her chicken nuggets, and the car’s tank was getting dangerously low when she finally spotted a strip mall with a big pharmacy type store and a gas station. She stopped in the parking lot and looked over at Loki, hating herself for what she was about to ask.
"We’re broke," she said.
"I don’t care," said Loki around a mouthful of cheeseburger. He had practically inhaled them all, and was on his last one already.
"Yes you do, because we’re not gonna get very far," Darcy told him. "Seriously, we are so fucked. I don’t even care if you knock it over. We need money," she said. She couldn’t believe what she’d just said, but their breakfast had been stupid expensive. But Loki needed it. She’d been around him and Thor long enough to have learned that keeping an Asgardian fed was about as expensive as keeping a horse fed.
"We need shoes. We need clothes. We need gas. We need food. We need money in case something happens again," she said. "A lot of it."
Loki sat silently as he finished off his burger, and then ate every single crumb from his fries. Knowing hers were just going to go cold anyway, since she’d ordered twenty fucking chicken nuggets as well, Darcy handed what was left of hers over to him. He ate the rest of her fries, and then slammed back his juice like it was his job.
"Fine," he said once he was finished. He opened the door and got out of the car. Just watching him walk through the slush on the ground made Darcy’s feet hurt, but he didn’t even seem to notice.
He walked inside the gas station, not even drawing any attention to himself despite being barefoot and in pyjamas, and found the ATM. Darcy couldn’t see what he was doing from in the car, but he seemed to be concentrating on it pretty hard. Finally, he looked up and walked back outside, casual as could be. Once back inside the car, he handed the stack of cash over to Darcy. She took it and counted through it, not sure if she should feel bad that Loki just stole almost two grand, or glad that they could actually afford to get themselves across Canada now.
"Okay," she said, stuffing the cash into her pocket and looking up at the pharmacy. "Okay. I don’t want to go in there alone."
"I’m tired," Loki complained.
"I’m scared," Darcy said. "I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what to do if I get caught. What if you get caught out here while I’m in there?"
Loki sat up and looked over at her almost nervously. "Give me the knife," he grumbled.
Darcy knew what was coming this time, but it didn’t make her any less grossed out when Loki started finger painting on her chest again. But he was less rushed this time, and seemed a little more confident in his work as they stepped out of the car, which made Darcy feel almost a little better about having his blood smeared all over her chest again.
"Can you unlock the doors again when we get back?" Darcy asked meekly, standing up on her tip toes to keep as much of her feet off the icy pavement as possible.
Loki sighed. "Fine."
Darcy locked them, since a pre-hotwired-car was just an invitation to get stolen. She tried not to run across the parking lot, but every step she took was more painful than the last. Apparently, Loki was getting sick of watching her suffer, because about halfway there, he scooped her up in both arms and carried her the rest of the way. Once inside, he all but dropped her, making her almost fall flat on her ass.
Darcy grabbed a cart and started going down the aisles until she found the small winter wear section. She grabbed a pair of ugly brown boots in her size and tossed them into the cart.
"Do you remember what size you wore?" she asked.
Loki shrugged almost indifferently.
"I think they were a…" She found a size twelve on the shelf and handed them to him. "Try that on."
Loki looked at her blankly. At first, Darcy thought he was just going to keep staring at her, but he finally bent over to try the boots on.
"That’s fine," he said after barely getting his foot inside. He tossed them into the cart and immediately wandered off. Darcy rolled her eyes, wanting to point out that wandering off was pretty much exactly defeating the purpose of making him come in with her, but she didn’t want to shout in the middle of the quiet store. Instead, she grabbed a few packs of socks in both their sizes, and then took a few sweatshirts and heavy pants from the tiny rack.
As she wandered through the store, trying to catch back up with Loki, she passed by an aisle with a few blankets, and was struck by an idea. She grabbed a few of them, and a couple of their cheap little pillows, and threw them all into the cart. She was just getting ready to go start looking for Loki again when he found her and dumped a huge armful of junk food into the cart.
"Got everything?" she asked, somewhat pleased that he had saved time and got something mildly useful.
"We should go," he said.
"Yep," Darcy agreed. She took the cart up to the register and smiled pleasantly at the poor guy behind the counter, right next to the front door with all the cold air.
He didn’t even look up as he rang up their stuff and bagged it. Again, the total was stupid outrageous, but this time it didn’t matter so much. They had enough of a cushion to get them to Winnipeg and beyond, even if Loki did decide to stop every two hours for more food.
Outside, Darcy stopped Loki before they started back toward the car.
"Hang on, hang on," she said.
There weren’t any benches nearby, so she sat on the dryest patch of concrete she could find and dug their boots out of the bags. "Here," she said, handing Loki his, as well as a thick pair of socks. He seemed like he didn’t even care, but his feet were actually dressed by the time Darcy was standing again, never so glad to be wearing shoes.
The walk back across the parking lot wasn’t nearly as torturous as the first time, and she felt almost confident that they might get out alive by the time they got to the car. Maybe it was just the shoes, but they were a hell of a morale boost already.
"Here," she said again as she pressed the button to open the back hatch. "I got a present for you."
She climbed inside, finding a few more blankets already behind the seats, but not at all regretting her purchase. She felt around behind the seats, taking almost embarrassingly long to find the right latch. Finally, the seat fell forward, not laying exactly flat, but close enough. She laid out two of the blankets to pad out the bed, and then tossed the pillows inside.
"You have been so nice, and I don’t know why, but you deserve some sleep now," she said.
Loki looked at her dubiously, but climbed in anyway. Once he seemed fairly settled, Darcy put the rest of their bags into the back with him and closed the hatch. By the time Darcy was back in the front seat, Loki was out like a light, sleeping on top of all of the blankets. She hoped that maybe wherever they were going after Winnipeg, they could just keep their borrowed car and drive all the way through, so Loki could actually get some rest before he died from exhaustion.
Not wanting to think about that, she started the car and pulled up to the gas station, so ready to just get the hell out before someone spotted them again.
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