Darcy waited until long after she was sure Loki had fallen asleep before even considering going to bed. After about a half hour looking at himself in the bathroom mirror, he finally put his borrowed shirt back on and sat back down on the bed to watch Darcy with a curiosity so intense, it made her want to scream. But she didn’t, and instead pretended that she hadn’t noticed him staring, and eventually—mercifully—he fell asleep. Darcy kept glancing over at him, each new thing he did only making her realise how stupid her plan was. She was half-tempted to sleep in the bathroom, with a door that locked, but the bath tub was too small for even her to fit comfortably, and somehow sleeping on the floor just seemed gross.

Around midnight, she finally decided she needed to get some sleep before dawn broke and brought with it the sort of harsh reality that only morning light could properly illuminate. She powered down her laptop and pulled some pyjamas out of the dresser and slipped into the bathroom to change. Her scissors and tweezers were still on the stained yellow counter top, but she tried not to look at them. Part of her wanted to just throw them away, like they were evidence to some terrible crime. But she needed those tweezers; not just for her eyebrows, but also because there was nothing sexy about those weird, dark hairs around her nipples.

She steeled herself, taking deep breaths before shutting off the light and going back out to the main room. Loki was still asleep, sprawled out on his back like he owned the place, but still on what had quickly become his side of the bed.

Darcy needed to figure out what to do with him, and the sooner the better.

She carefully walked back round to her side and climbed under the covers, thankful that Loki had at least had the decency to fall asleep on top of them. It wasn’t much in the way of a barrier between them, but it was something. She put her glasses down on the night stand beside her and rolled over to put her back toward Loki, already knowing that she wouldn’t be getting much sleep at all. An unconscious psychopath was still a psychopath. For all she knew, he was just waiting for her to fall asleep so he could strangle her and steal her skin to wear it like a suit. And that wasn’t helping her sleep at all.

She wasn’t sure when she did manage to actually drift off, but the clock beside her said it was just a few minutes before two in the morning when she woke up again. The room was freezing, as it had been every night, because leaving the heater on only meant she woke up at two AM because the room felt like a sauna. Darcy tried to pull the blankets closer around her, but Loki’s weight on top of them made it impossible. The only way to get any warmer was to back away farther from the edge, and closer to Loki.

Fuck that noise. She’d rather freeze.

Or so she thought. After nearly an hour of failing to fall back asleep because she was too busy shivering, she finally gave in and moved back toward the middle of the bed. She didn’t get quite close enough to actually come into any real contact with Loki, but it did mean she got more blankets. Not that she really felt any better for it. She was still cold, and now she was within perfect strangling distance.

She decided that rather than freezing or being strangled, she’d prefer to swelter. But just as she started to get up to turn the heater back on, Loki muttered something that sounded like ‘nay’ and rolled over, wrapping one arm tightly around Darcy. She went completely still, not sure what she should do. What if she argued? Would he get angry? Was he even awake? She didn’t even want to try to turn around to see. He started saying something else in complete gibberish, as far as Darcy could tell, but soon started coughing and hacking again. Thankfully, he let her go while he coughed his throat raw, and it was all Darcy needed. She flung herself out of the bed and sat down against the wall beneath the window, staring at Loki as he calmed down and went back to sleep. Huddled against the wall, Darcy buried her face in her hands and forced herself to be quiet; forced herself not to cry, if only because she didn’t want to wake Loki up and piss him off.

She knew she could still get out of this. She could tell them that Loki forced his way into her car. That he made her bring him here. And SHIELD would probably believe her, especially when Loki couldn’t refute that. But she knew she couldn’t—she wouldn’t. Not when SHIELD or SWORD or whatever were the reason he couldn’t refute her story in the first place. Not when she’d got curious enough to go surfing Wikipedia. That incision on his scalp, just above his ear; they weren’t messing around randomly. Thor was an alien from another planet, and he spoke perfect English. Loki was from the same planet, and he didn’t understand a damn word that was spoken to him, because some bastard with a medical degree they didn’t deserve had gone spelunking in Loki’s language centres. Whatever he had to say, they didn’t want anyone to hear it.

Giving him back to the people who had done that to him would only be a very long and painful death sentence. He deserved prison; not that. The best thing she could do would be to get through the next day, and take him back out to the desert under the cover of night and send him on his merry way. Maybe his own kind would find him and come pick him up and get him out of Earth’s hair, then.

Not sure what else to do, Darcy reached over and turned on the heater. Sitting as close as she was to it was uncomfortably warm almost immediately, but she couldn’t bring herself to move away. Everything ached, and she wanted nothing more than to go back to bed, but bed was the last place she wanted to be. She had made a terrible mistake, and now she had no idea how to fix it.

Darcy reached for her handbag and quietly as she could pulled her taser from it. She held it close to her as she curled up against the wall again, leaning in the uncomfortable corner where the air-conditioner stuck out from under the window. The warmth coming from it started to lull her back to sleep despite everything, her exhaustion winning over. She drifted in and out of sleep, slumped against the wall while Loki slept in her bed.

She didn’t know how many times she woke up and fell back asleep over the night, but she was definitely asleep when a heavy pounding came from the door. Darcy jerked awake, looking at the door and waiting for someone to break it down. After a few moments, when no-one came bursting in, she looked back over at Loki, also awake and looking down at her in confusion.

“Shit,” Darcy whispered, carefully getting to her feet. It didn’t matter who it was; she needed to act fast. “Get down. Hide!” she hissed at Loki, waving him off the bed.

He didn’t seem to need to be told twice, and was down on the floor in an instant. It wasn’t the best hiding place, but there weren’t a whole lot of other options. Darcy quickly pulled off her pyjama bottoms, glad she’d kept her panties on under them, and unlocked the door. She cracked it open, hiding as much behind it as she could, and peered out to find Clint standing outside, looking more keyed up than he had all week.

“We’ve got a problem,” he said. “Loki escaped from SWORD custody last night.”

“Shit,” Darcy hissed. Were they onto her?

Clint rubbed his face and pointed out toward the black SUV in the car park outside. “The good news is you get a ride into work today. Come on.”

“What, right now?” she asked. She glanced over at the clock, feeling like the Universe was out to get her when she saw it was about ten minutes to seven. “I don’t go in until about ten.”

“Yeah, well I go in at seven,” Clint said.

Darcy was not amused. If she was in trouble, Clint would have probably said something already, which meant she was just being pointlessly jerked around. Typical SHIELD.

“Dude, I’m like, pretty much naked. You woke me up,” she sad, shifting just far enough out from behind the door so he could see that she was, indeed, pretty much naked. “You gotta give me like, at least an hour to get ready. I’m a girl; we take a long time.”

“Thirty minutes,” Clint said, obviously not buying it for a second. “I’ll be in the car.”

He turned to walk back to his giant SUV. Darcy shut the door and leaned against it. She’d managed to buy herself half an hour to work out what to do. It wasn’t much, but it was more than she’d expected to get away with. She scrubbed her face with both hands, wondering just when her life had turned completely upside down. She almost wished she was back in Culver, dealing with giant green monsters instead of this.

When she looked back up again Loki was sitting up behind the bed, actually leering at her. Of course he was.

“Oh my god,” Darcy said, pulling her shirt down as low as she could. “No, you stop it right there. I don’t even…”

She didn’t know what she didn’t even, but it was something strong and acidic that sat high in her chest. She waved it all away as best she could and fetched up her taser from the floor and went to go dig some clean clothes from the dressed.

“Whatever, man. I have to shower. If I even think you’re trying to get through that door, I’m tasing you in the balls.” She took everything into the bathroom and locked the door behind her. The flimsy lock wouldn’t really keep anyone out, but it was that much more of a barrier between her and Loki. Getting undressed more than she already was, knowing he was just on the other side of the door, was more difficult than she expected it to be. She didn’t want to get undressed, but she needed to shower. She’d spent all night sweating next to the heater, and couldn’t put up a good front if she went into the lab smelling like an old gym bag. Finally, she undressed and stepped into the shower, focusing just on that and trying to ignore everything else. She tried to ignore the photos on her phone, and that constant look of incomprehension on Loki’s face. She tried to ignore the fact that Puente Antiguo was crawling with SHIELD agents, and what they would do to her if they found Loki in her hotel room. She tried to ignore the fact that he was just on the other side of the door, and she tried to ignore the question of whether he had actually been asleep when he grabbed her during the night.

She wasn’t really sure when she had started, but she soon found herself with her face buried in her hands, sobbing quietly. She had made a huge mistake, and there was no way out of it. She was trapped, and if SHIELD didn’t do something terrible to her, Loki would. All of that frustration and terror and helplessness came out in tears that were washed away by the hot water streaming down on her face. No evidence was left behind, but she hated herself for it all the same. This could have all been avoided if she had just listened to the number one piece of highway advice in the first place and not stopped to pick up a hitchhiker. It was all her fault, and she had no-one else to even conceivably blame.

But she also didn’t have time to waste on blaming herself. Clint would be back if she wasn’t out there soon enough, and she still had to figure out what to do with Loki while she was pretending to be a good little intern. She washed quickly, barely even worrying about her hair, and dressed just as quickly. By the time she was out, she felt almost in control of the situation, and still had fifteen minutes to spare. Loki was back up on the bed, and had apparently managed to turn off the heater before he picked up Darcy’s handbag and emptied out in front of him. He sat there, curiously examining a tampon, which he hadn’t managed to unwrap yet.

“Hey, no!” Darcy snapped, rushing forward to claim her belongings. She crammed everything into the bag, pulling the tampon from Loki’s hand. “Lady things. Not for you.”

Loki actually had the audacity to glare at her. Darcy almost had the audacity to smack him. She didn’t though, because she knew what would happen if she did. And she didn’t want to even start to go there.

“Okay, you’re bored. I get that,” she said. She put her handbag aside and exchanged it for the universal remote control she’d brought from home. “Look at this. You’ll like this. I promise.”

She made sure he was looking at what her fingers were doing and turned on the television. At the sudden noise from it, Loki jumped and glared at the television, and then back at Darcy. Ignoring it as best she could, she turned the television off and on again a few times, making sure he got the point.

“If you don’t like Telemundo, there are other things here. See?” Darcy said. She waved her fingers in front of his face to get his attention again and showed him how to flip through the eight channels available. After a few moments, Loki took the remote from her and tried it for himself, turning the television off and on a few times, and looking like he hadn’t the faintest clue what he was supposed to do about it.

“I have, uhm,” Darcy started. She looked around and finally found her giant DVD book. Most of her DVDs weren’t even proper DVDs, but just several .avi files burnt to the disk, in the event that her computer crashed and lost all her downloaded movies. God bless Philips and their DVD players that would read anything.

She pulled a random disk from the book and walked over to the player. Loki sat up and followed her as far as the foot of the bed, watching as she deliberately pressed the button that opened the tray and then dropped the DVD into place.

“You press this one here,” She said, turning round to point at the play button a few times. Loki looked up at her, and then down at the remote again and pressed the button to queue up whatever files were on the DVD. It was Brave, apparently.

“You’ll probably like this one,” Darcy said. “It has a witch and a bear and a princess who doesn’t take any shit from anyone.”

That confused look was back on Loki’s face. Darcy thought she might be starting to get used to it. She glanced over to the clock and cursed Clint for only giving her a half hour. He’d be banging on the door again if she wasn’t out there soon, and she still had to finish getting ready. She grabbed up her make-up lunch box and took it back into the bathroom where it belonged. She hardly had any time to do much at all, but some quick eyeliner and bronze eye shadow gave the impression that she had at least spent her half-hour being somewhat stereotypically girly. She took her taser and stuffed it into her handbag with the rest of her things and grabbed her books and her glasses, setting it all on the foot of the bed so she could pull on her shoes.

“I’ll try to be back as soon as I can,” he said. She slid her glasses on and picked up her things before making her way to the door. Loki was on his feet in an instant and grabbed Darcy by the wrist so hard it hurt.

“Nay,” he said again, pulling her back. He tried to say something else, but started coughing again. Not as badly as last time, but it was enough to derail him.

“I have to go,” Darcy said, trying to pull away from him. “I—you’re hurting me. Let go!”

Loki didn’t let go, but he did loosen his grip on her, going from bone-crushing to just uncomfortable.

“I have to go,” Darcy insisted again. She pointed toward the door, and through it, at Clint waiting for her outside. “If I don’t go with him, he’ll come in here and then we’re both fucked.”

Loki stared at her for a long moment before turning his attention over her shoulder, looking in the direction of where Darcy had pointed. Finally, he nodded and released her, saying something that sounded like, “yow far.” Whatever that meant. She assumed it meant he wasn’t going to fight her on this.

“Okay,” she said. “I’m going now. Get back, or he’ll see you.” She waved him off, waiting until he stepped away from the door and back toward the bed before she stepped outside. Clint was waiting in the SUV, looking around the immediate area. Darcy took her time locking the door, trying not to seem like she was taking her time. She just needed the time to calm down just that little bit. If she was lucky, Clint would think she was just nervous about everything, and not about the very specific problem currently watching Disney movies in her room.