Somehow, driving across Canada’s hellish, frozen wasteland seemed a lot less hopeless after Darcy had got everything out of her system and bawled herself dry. She felt wrung out and hollow, but in an almost comfortable way. As soon as they were out of Edmonton, Loki fell asleep again, which was exactly what they both needed.

Darcy still couldn’t understand why he came back. He must have known how lost they truly were, and that his survival chances were zero if he tried to go out on his own.

Of course, he could have also just carjacked a local if he really wanted to get out of Canada quickly. Except he didn’t know where he needed to go any more than the theoretical local would have.

Knowing that Loki needed Darcy as much as she needed him at this point was just one more thing she decided not to think about.

She followed the highway, watching out for any cars at all. There wasn’t really anybody out there at all, and with the snow coming down in buckets, Darcy wasn’t surprised. She could feel her tyres slipping every now and then, and drove way under the posted speed limit just to make sure she stayed on the road. Instead of suspicious SUVs, she was looking out for anything furry that decided to dart across the road. She kept reminding herself that if she did see Thumper, she was going to just have to run his fluffy little ass over. But if she saw Bambi, she realised she wasn’t actually sure what she was supposed to do. The Taurus had a low front end, and that deer would probably just roll right up it and come crashing through the windshield if she hit it. But if she tried to swerve, she’d probably wind up rolling right off the road. Even at the speed she was going, hitting the brakes wouldn’t do anything to slow her down at all.

"Fuck," she said out loud, hoping she didn’t see any deer on the road.

"Are you lost again?" Loki asked tiredly.

"No," she said, wondering when he woke up. "I can’t remember if I’m supposed to run over the deer or try to swerve away from it."

Loki sat up and looked out the window. "What deer?" he asked.

"The hypothetical deer that could hypothetically jump out in front of me at any moment," Darcy told him. "We don’t exactly get a lot of deer in Queens, so it was just a footnote when I took my test."

"Which queens?" Loki asked, still looking around in confusion.

"Nothing. Go back to sleep," Darcy told him.

Loki did nothing of the sort. He yawned loudly and sat up instead, apparently done sleeping now that the sun was starting to go down. Darcy kind of wished he did know how to drive, since he’d probably be awake all night anyway. If the road conditions weren’t so god fucking awful, she’d have been tempted to teach him. She still was kind of tempted even with the god fucking awful road conditions.

"I need food," Loki declared randomly.

"We got food in the back," Darcy reminded him.

"Real food."

Darcy sighed, having expected this to happen. He’d only grabbed processed junk, and she was too stressed out to stop anywhere while they were in Edmonton.

"Well, make do with what we have," she told him. "I’m hoping to find a place to stop soon anyway, because I really need to pee, and I’m not popping a squat in the snow unless I have to."

That did the trick. Loki gave her an annoyed look and climbed back over the seat. Instead of staying in the back, he just brought everything up front, piling it all out onto his lap while he inspected it.

While he did that, Darcy kept a look out for any helpful signs that weren’t completely buried. There were crossroads often enough, but they always seemed to go nowhere. She wasn’t expecting to find a Little Caesar’s or anything just out there on the side of the endless road, but she thought she might see at least a gas station.

While Loki emptied out a bag of Doritos, Darcy spotted an actual off-ramp up ahead. Assuming an off-ramp meant there would be something nearby making too much traffic to safely get across the highway at a crossroad, Darcy took it. Not actually seeing any traffic anywhere, she stopped right in the middle of the intersection where the off-ramp and the crossroad met, and looked down the road in both directions. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she saw something town-like just beyond the overpass, so that’s where she decided to go. Sure enough, she quickly came to a town, and the very first building she saw was a Shell station. Not wasting any time at all, she pulled into the parking lot and ran inside to find out if there was a key for the bathroom. On her way out, just to be safe, she put down another fifteen dollars for gas, since she had no idea when the next stop would be.

After she got her change, she ran back outside to move the car and top off the tank.

"After this, we’ll look around and see if there’s a restaurant or something," she told Loki through the open door.

He was too busy trying to brush Dorito crumbs off his chest to notice her, apparently. But that didn’t stop her.

"After that, I don’t know. We can stay here since it’s getting dark, or we can keep going and hope there’s somewhere else to stop later," she said.

"Keep going," Loki said, making it sound like an order. Darcy wasn’t sure how she felt about taking orders from someone covered in orange Dorito dust. "If we stop, it will be to camp. We’re found out every time we rest anywhere civilised."

Darcy sighed deeply, knowing he had a point, but hating the idea of camping when it was so ball-blistering cold out. "Okay," she agreed.

When she finished pumping the gas, she got back into the car and drove out to the road, heading further into town. She expected to repeat their game in Calgary, and have to drive around endlessly until she found something, but her search was over almost as soon as it started.

"Aw, yeah. Motherfucking Pizza Hut," she said, pulling into the parking lot. It wasn’t Little Caesar’s, but it would do. "You wanna come in with me?"

She looked over at Loki, somehow not surprised to see him still fighting to get the Dorito dust off of him.

"Never mind. Stay in the car," she said, trying not to laugh at him, and failing. She left him behind and walked into the building, not even feeling guilty for the absurd order she was about to place. She knew that whatever she ordered, Loki would manage to eat almost all of it, so she grabbed four of their largest pizzas, plus a whole bunch of bottled water and bread sticks. And some chicken. And a pasta bowl, because she knew it would probably be the last time she ever got to eat pasta again.

She stayed inside while she waited for the order to finish, still not able to feel bad about the size of it. After checking out the window for about the tenth time to make sure Loki hadn’t blown himself up or something, Darcy managed to convince herself that he was fine out there, and turned her attention back to waiting for everything to get done.

When it was finally all handed over the counter, Darcy suddenly rethought her entire plan. She hadn’t realised how much stuff she’d actually ordered, and didn’t exactly have the hands to carry it all. And of course, Loki was passed out again, or else pretending to be, so Darcy gave the kid behind the counter a helpless smile as she looked at the heaping stack of everything.

"Do you think you can help me carry it out to my car?" she asked.

The kid looked at her, and then out at the car and shrugged. He ran into the back, and returned wearing a huge coat, before picking up the pizzas and two of the water bottles. Darcy grabbed the rest of it and led the way outside, deciding that the best place to put it all would be in the back.

"Dinner," she announced as she opened the door.

Loki sat up like he’d been electrocuted and looked around, sending a glare at Darcy. It was a quick-lived glare, and died as soon as he saw the stack of food being settled into the bed behind him. Without offering to help, or even offering his thanks, Loki grabbed the top pizza box for himself and ignored everything else around him.

When everything was settled, Darcy shut the door and dug into her pocket again.

"Thanks," she said, handing the Pizza Hut kid twenty bucks. "Don’t tell anyone. Our secret."

She smiled at him again as she got into the car, and waved as she pulled back onto the road.