As they got farther out of Calgary, the traffic began to thin. Fewer cars meant a smaller chance of SHIELD catching up with them, but it also meant a smaller chance of someone being close enough to help if the crappy, seriously-ill-equipped car lost traction and went off the road. As the snow piled up ever higher, Darcy regretted not stealing something bigger; something with four wheel drive. Something that wouldn’t completely implode if it hit a deer. She was just glad Loki was passed out beside her, completely unaware of her silent panic as she drove further into the Canadian wilderness.
"It’s gonna be fine," she promised herself. "We’re gonna get there, and we’re not gonna get lost, and we’re not gonna get caught, and it’s gonna be fine."
She repeated this over and over again, willing it to be true. She didn’t even know where she was going, or if she was even on the right road at times. Then, mercifully, she saw a sign announcing Edmonton coming up ahead. Even if she wasn’t on the right road, she was going in the right direction. Loki was still asleep, and since a sleeping Loki was a non-annoying Loki, she let him be. Trying to balance the map and not crashing into the car in front of her, Darcy quickly unfolded it and checked for where she was supposed to go. She couldn’t tell how she was actually supposed to get from the road she was on to Route 16, but she assumed they would intersect at some point.
The further into the city she got, the more she realised she couldn’t have been more wrong.
"Fucking shit fuck. Oh my god!" she complained, slapping the steering wheel in frustration. "Where the fuck am I?"
The only thing keeping her from breaking down right there in the car was the realisation that she’d woken Loki up, and he was glaring at her. He rolled his eyes and sighed, not even having the decency to pretend to be surprised.
"You’re lost," he said flatly.
"Yes!" Darcy shouted, hitting the steering wheel again and again. "I’m fucking lost! Like you could do any fucking better, all right? I’ve never been to Canada in my life, so what the fuck makes you think I know anything about it? And you’re not even helping with your fucking holier than thou attitude, so just shut up!"
Now she was crying, and she didn’t even care. She was lost in a strange country she didn’t have any right to even be in, while federal agents were still trying to find her for the crime of trying to help someone she didn’t even like.
She expected Loki to say something biting about how he could actually do better, but he didn’t. Instead, he surprised her by climbing into the back and getting the hell away from her. He started going through the bags she’d put back there with him when she thought he was going to sleep for the whole trip, and he could eat the whole damn lot of it if it would keep him quiet for the rest of the trip. She didn’t even care anymore. All Darcy cared about was getting away and getting somewhere safe and not having to deal with any of it any again.
She tried to wipe her tears away as the road she was on ended in a T-junction. It was completely hopeless, and she didn’t even know why she thought she could do this.
"I don’t know what to do," she said pathetically.
Loki came back into the front and offered her a bottle of soda she hadn’t even realised he’d grabbed, and she didn’t even want. "You’re a mess," he said.
The matter-of-fact way he said it was the final straw, and suddenly everything she’d been ignoring and shoving away came flooding forward. She was a bawling, snotty mess, and she could barely see through the tears in her eyes as she kept driving down the unfamiliar road. She was trembling so hard, she was afraid she was going to just crash the car.
"Get off the road. You’re going to get us killed," Loki said, looking back over his shoulder again.
Darcy sniffed loudly and nodded. She looked for any parking lot she could find, but the road was all towering buildings on one side and trees on the other. Finally, she came to side street that branched off, and she pulled off there, parking on the side of the road. Once the car was stopped, she buried her face in her hands and tried to ignore Loki. She didn’t want to do this in front of him, and now that she had, she couldn’t stop. Her entire body felt wrecked and broken as she sobbed against the steering wheel, feeling more hopeless than she’d ever felt before.
Suddenly, she felt Loki move again, and by the time she looked up, he was out of the car and slamming the door behind him. She didn’t know where he was going, but now he’d abandoned her and she was really fucked. There wasn’t even any reason to keep going now, except to not get arrested and wind up in jail forever. But that’s what was always going to happen, and she knew it. He’d decide she was useless, and after getting her in trouble with the feds, he’d just throw her to them and go out on his own.
She was hit by another wave of sobs, this one even harder than the first. She cried so hard, she didn’t even have the air to do it properly. Everything hurt and nothing was going right, and sooner or later someone would see her and that would just be the end of it.
Darcy didn’t know how long she’d sat and cried, when she heard the passenger door open again. She looked up sharply, expecting to see a cop, or worse, Coulson. Instead, Loki sat back down as calmly as ever and handed her the map and the soda he’d tried to give her before. Darcy was so shocked that he’d came back at all that she took both without question.
"Where did you go?" she asked weakly, not wanting to admit to even herself that she was glad to see his stupid snakey face.
"To find a local," Loki answered.
Darcy drew a shaky breath and looked at the map to find that someone had helpfully written down directions for how to get to where she needed to be. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to laugh or to cry, and kind of did both. She wiped her face dry with her sleeve and nodded as she read the directions Loki had somehow managed to talk someone into writing down. She didn’t even want to think about how he’d managed that.
Suddenly feeling very thirsty, she opened the soda — some horrid, generic orange thing — and drank half of it in one go. She was still trembling, and her chest still felt tight, but she didn’t feel quite like everything was just a big, giant hopeless lost cause of a mess.
"You should rest," Loki said unexpectedly.
Darcy almost laughed. "Can you drive?" she asked sceptically.
He shrugged. "It can’t be that difficult. You can do it," he said.
Darcy did laugh that time, though she didn’t have the energy to make it much more than a gasp. "No, you are not getting behind the wheel ever," she said.
Loki shrugged and sat back in his seat. He still looked like road kill, but at least he looked like well-rested road kill. And maybe it was just the haze of snot and tears in her eyes, but he didn’t seem as angry as he had earlier. It must have been one hell of a nap he took, and Darcy wished she could take one herself.
"Just give me a few minutes, okay," she said, pulling her hair away from her face and trying to compose herself.
Loki didn’t say anything, which was as good as an agreement from him. Darcy yanked on the rear view mirror so she could see herself in it, frowning immediately when her stupid new hair colour caught her eye. Sighing and leaning back into her seat, pushed the mirror back into a working position and tried to fix her hair without looking at it. Out of nowhere, Loki reached over with both hands and decided to just mess it up all over again, but Darcy put up with it, assuming he was just being his obnoxious childish self. She ignored him and kept trying to fix her hair until she felt calm and in control of the situation once more, before she looked at the map again and started to read the directions Loki had been given. They were long and complicated, and looked like whoever he asked had to get them off Google, which was only further confirmation of just how lost they were.
"Are you any good at pick-pocketing?" Darcy asked, surprising even herself.
Loki looked over at her dubiously. "Why?"
She didn’t answer. She didn’t want to resort to it, but knew she might have to if they were going to survive this. Instead, she took a steadying breath and got back onto the main road, ready to try again.
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