Darcy was surprised to find herself alone in her bunk when she woke. Carefully, she leaned over the side to find Loki in his own bunk below, reading a newspaper and eating a sandwich and bag of chips they hadn’t brought with them.

"Where’d you find that?" she asked.

Loki barely looked up at her. Even from where Darcy sat, awkwardly perched above him, she could tell he was tired and drained all over again. Earlier that day, he seemed like he at least had some energy back, but now he was once again looking like he could fall asleep at any moment.

"There’s a vendor nearby," he said finally.

Darcy realised he must have found the cash they still had stashed away. Or found a new source of it elsewhere on the train. She also realised that if he’d gone out looking for food, he probably had to pull another trick to hide himself as soon as he woke up. Her hopes for him feeling better enough to disappear on his own quickly started to evaporate.

"Did you get enough for two?" she asked.

Loki sighed deeply and handed her a wrapped sandwich that probably looked much better on the menu than it did all squished up inside of a heavy layer of cling film.

"Thanks," she said.

As she settled back in her bunk, Darcy glanced outside the window and found nothing but inky blackness behind the reflection of their own cabin. She had no idea how long she’d slept, but apparently long enough for the sun to have gone down since their noon departure. Somehow, she was surprised Loki had let her sleep that long.

"So," she said cautiously, trying not to spill crumbs everywhere as she unwrapped her sandwich. "What’s your plan when we get to Torshaow?" she asked.

Loki didn’t answer right away, and for a moment, Darcy thought he hadn’t heard her.

"There’s an intersection of Dragon Lines there," he said finally. "Crossing them will take me to Alfheim. I can gather strength and allies there, and when I return, burn this realm to ash."

Darcy regretted asking. "You’re still on that, huh?" she asked. "Why can’t you just go there and be glad you’re safe? SHIELD wouldn’t dare follow you."

"This realm doesn’t deserve to be spared," Loki said.

Darcy quietly bit into her sandwich, not sure what else to say. He was obviously set on destroying everything, and nothing she could possibly say would change his mind.

She also couldn’t help but notice that he spoke only of himself. A bit part of her was glad that he didn’t appear to have any intent to drag her along to another realm, or planet, or whatever it was. But it opened up that same question of what she was supposed to do next. Loki had been protecting her, in his own way. He needed her, even if he had figured out how to read and use money. Without her, he’d scare off his help, or get lost, or just start killing people until SHIELD got sick enough of him to kill him back. Darcy had no doubt Loki was more valuable to them alive, but there was some imaginary line he’d be able to cross that meant that value no longer mattered.

And without his protection, she’d be on the run forever. They’d get to Tórshavn, and then he’d disappear, and she’d have to move fast to out pace SHIELD. She’d have to run forever, because a global organisation wouldn’t have much need for things like borders and treaties to keep them out. She’d never be able to stop. Never be able to rest. She was stuck, forever on the run, until she gave up or died.

The thought left a heavy weight in her stomach that made the sandwich turn to paste in her mouth. It didn’t taste good, however good a packaged sandwich on a train could taste to begin with. It was hard to swallow and turned sour in her stomach. But she ate it anyway, because she had no idea when she’d get another chance to eat something.

She wondered if Loki did intend to take her with him, and make good on his threat to make her his queen. She wondered what would happen when Mike found the mess that had been made of his guest bed. Would he get in contact with the rest of his network of thieves and smugglers and revoke the help that waited for them when they stepped of the train? Would he turn around and turn them in to SHIELD?

Darcy realised that Loki was right. She talked too much. She told people too many details about where they were going and what they were doing. Told them too many thing about him. Nobody needed to know the entire plan, and yet Darcy had told every single person they’d crossed paths with where they needed to go. If SHIELD caught up with a single one of them, they could find themselves cut off at any point along the way. They could step off the train and into an ambush, and that would be the end of it.

"How does your magic work?" she asked suddenly, looking down at the sandwich she no longer wanted to eat.

"It depends on the magic," Loki said.

He even sounded tired. They shouldn’t have tried to leave right away. They should have found somewhere to lay low for a few weeks, so he could get his strength back. That was her fault too, she realised. They couldn’t lie low, because everyone knew where they were. Because Darcy wouldn’t stop telling people.

"There’s different kinds?" Darcy asked.

She realised she knew that, though she hadn’t noticed until he’d said so.

"A staggering number of techniques," Loki said. "More than you’d be able to comprehend."

Darcy chose to ignore the insult. "But if you keep doing it, you’re going to get sick again, right?" she asked.

Two days was a long time to have to hide in plain sight.

"Would it be easier if we, I don’t know. Found a knife or something?" she asked.

She wasn’t thrilled about the idea of getting blood smeared all over her again, but it seemed like he was able to sustain that kind of magic for much longer.

Loki sighed. "It would only catch up eventually. I can’t keep doing that either."

Two days. Two days of hiding in a tiny cabin, going unseen by every person on the train, who had all no doubt been shown their photos. A single slip, and they were both doomed.

Darcy took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "What do you need?" she asked, afraid of the answer.

Again, he didn’t answer right away, and with each passing second that he was silent, Darcy felt her chest growing tighter and tighter.

"I need rest," Loki said finally.

She’d never felt more relieved at hearing three simple words in her life.

"So rest," she said. "Turn out the lights. I’ve got one up here I can use."

Darcy turned around to flip on the light behind her, putting it on its low setting. A moment later, she could hear Loki shuffling around below her, and finally getting up to kill the light in the cabin. The angled mirrors above the tiny sink reflected her reading light a lot more than Darcy expected it to, but Loki didn’t seem to notice as he crawled back into his bunk and rolled over.

She found the book she’d been reading tangled up in the blanket, and sat back against the wall to read it as she forced down the rest of the sandwich. It still wasn’t good, and neither was the book, but they were both a distraction from the man sleeping just feet away. The gentle sway of the train as they sped across Canada to some unknown destination was almost relaxing, and for a few moments, Darcy considered trying to get back to sleep.

Instead, she read her book and enjoyed the silence, almost able to pretend she was alone. Almost, except for the looming cloud of terror that hung over her as she tried to avoid thinking about all the ways in which this was going to end poorly for her. Almost, except for Loki quietly snoring in the bunk below.

What if Loki did take her through this Dragon Line with her? What if he did decide to make her a queen? Loki was someone who was supposedly once worshipped as a god. He was thousands of years old, however much he might have behaved like a surly teenager who had never been told ‘no’ in his life. He gave her about as much respect as an ant, and to him, that’s probably what she was.

He wouldn’t want to take her with. She knew he only said those things to get into her head and make her easier to control. But she knew she’d crossed lines as well; lines she’d have to be able to avoid going forward if she wanted any chance of getting out of this alive. Loki wasn’t the only dangerous one in this game. The worst Loki could do was kill her. At least then, her problems would be over.

The worst SHIELD could do was make her suffer for a very, very long time.

Darcy wanted to get up and move around, but she didn’t dare leave the cabin. Not when she could be seen. And she didn’t want to ask Loki to work his kooky magic on her just so she could go take a walk. If either one of them were going to get out of this alive, he needed to be at the top of his game. Because when they did run into SHIELD again, it wasn’t going to be some quick little scuffle like it was last time. Coulson would be pissed. Whatever faceless spook he reported to would be pissed. She could only imagine the amount of money they’d already poured into this manhunt, and it was surely only getting more expensive by the hour.

She wanted out, but it wouldn’t be fair to Loki. And she hated that she had to be fair to him.

Instead, she climbed down from the bunk to stretch her legs by pacing around the cabin like the caged animal she’d become. She tried to be quiet, but apparently wasn’t quiet enough. Loki rolled over, and before Darcy realised what was happening, he reached out and grabbed her by the arm, pulling her close. She fought against him for a moment, but even exhausted and half-asleep, he was stronger than she was. First, she thought he only wanted her close, but he didn’t stop at close. He shifted just enough to force her onto the bed with him, holding her at an awkward angle so her back was against his chest, and her feet still on the floor.

"Wait, this hurts," she said.

He loosened his grip on her enough for her to move, and for a brief moment, she considered fleeing. But there wasn’t anywhere to flee, so she gave up and got as comfortable as she’d be able to get. Then, he was right back on top of her, holding her against the bed with his arm as he pulled her close against his body.

Two days. She had two days to spend like this. And countless more beyond that until they finally reached Tórshavn.

It didn’t take long before he started grinding up against her, but this time she let it happen. If that was all he wanted to do, then fine. If he wanted a sex toy, then she could be that if it meant he wasn’t going to hurt her again. She stared straight ahead, jaw clenched against the growing tightness in her throat, glad that the bunk was too low to let her see her own reflection in the mirror. Her face was right behind the ladder, and beyond that, the door to the tiny, private toilet. There wasn’t a lot to look at for a distraction, but she didn’t dare try to move to find something else to look at.

She hoped that he might fall back asleep, but that hope evaporated when his mouth found her neck, and his teeth bit into her skin. Not enough to hurt, but enough to let her know that he was not falling back asleep any time soon. Darcy closed her eyes and hated herself and everything around her.

"What do you want?" she asked tiredly.

"Take your pants off," Loki said in her ear.

Darcy breathed out so much, it hurt. Still keeping her eyes screwed shut, she weighed her options, and reached to unbutton her jeans. It was easier when she let it happen, and it was going to happen whether she wanted it to or not. But maybe being fucked from behind would mean that she could pretend she was somewhere else. Maybe not having to look at his face would mean she could pretend he was someone else. As she pulled off her jeans, she could feel Loki moving to do the same behind her. But he didn’t take her from behind like she’d expected. He rolled onto his back and pulled her with, forcing her on top of him. His intent was as obvious as his dick was between her legs, and Darcy couldn’t do it. She stayed still, unable to force herself to move. When Loki got impatient, she didn’t fight him as he forced her to move, shifting her body and his until he was pressing himself inside her.

She was still raw and on fire from the night before, and nearly screamed at the intrusion. When she stopped, she was surprised Loki didn’t force her down onto him anyway. Instead, he shifted to sit up a bit, changing the angle and pulling her down to meet him the rest of the way. Again, he forced his way into her mouth, and again, she didn’t fight it. He didn’t taste like sulphur this time, which wasn’t enough of a blessing to make the rest any less awful. As he kissed her, he started fucking her from below, slowly forcing his way deeper into her as he wrapped his arms around her waist, guiding her body to move against his. She let all of it happen, knowing he’d at least be gentle if she didn’t fight, however much her abused body hated the idea.

He forced her to ride him through the pain and the intrusion, moving her exactly where he wanted her. Darcy tried to let herself enjoy it; tried to make herself want it, because if she did, it might not hurt as much. When one of his hands found its way under her shirt, lifting it over her tits to expose them, the whole thing became real again. She was exposed and raw in what felt like every way possible, and the only thing she could do about it was silently let it happen. Then his mouth was on her nipple, and it was not arousing. Somehow, he had only found a wholly new way to violate her, and to take what she did not want to give.

As he bit and teased with his tongue and teeth, she felt his hand move again, trailing a path down her body until it came to her hip. He found her clit with his thumb and began teasing her there as well, rubbing and pressing against it in rhythm with her own motions. As she fucked him, she could feel herself starting to want it. She didn’t want it, even as it became easier to move on top of him. Darcy shifted her weight above him, and she hated herself for letting her body take over. She hated herself even more as she came, and little noises of pleasure escaped her lips.

But of course, he wasn’t done yet. She tried to move along with him still, hoping it would make everything end faster, but it never did. He fucked and teased and took his time from beneath her, and all Darcy could do was keep telling herself that he was from another planet, and that as long as she just did what he said, she’d come out okay. When Loki finally finished with a loud cry of his own, he stayed inside her and held his arms tight around her waist as his kisses on her neck turned gentle, and almost tender. Somehow, Darcy hated that even more.

"That was definitely a son," he said against her skin.

Darcy felt her breath catch in her chest. He couldn’t get her pregnant. It wasn’t possible.

"I don’t think it works that way," she said.

He held her down on his dick, not letting her escape to undo what he’d done. But he wasn’t human. It didn’t matter. She told herself this again and again.

Her hips burned when he finally let her go, rolling her off toward the wall, trapping her further still. Darcy tried to pull her shirt down to at least cover her chest, while behind her, Loki took his off. He pressed his entire body against her as he pinned her down with his arm, holding her so she knew he was still in charge. Darcy could only lay there quietly, hoping he might let go once he fell asleep, so she could escape to the relative safety of her own bunk.