Loki returned with more snacks from whatever dining car he’d managed to find, and tossed Darcy another sandwich and a small cup of fruit. Other than that, he seemed content to ignore her, and let her be on the top bunk. She tried to stay content with it, to pretend he wasn’t even there in turn, but even while ignoring her, he’d made that impossible. Every time she moved or shifted wrong, a sharp pain deep inside reminded her of what had been done to her.

What she had been an increasingly willing participant in. She tried to forget that, but Loki hadn’t held her down and forced her. He’d touched her, and she’d invited him in, using his hand for her own pleasure. She’d wanted it. Her body had craved it.

Loki was clearly well enough that he’d decided to take charge of their journey, and as long as Darcy didn’t try to fight him on that, she knew he wouldn’t go out of his way to hurt her.

Just like she knew he could hurt her if he wanted to.

But he also seemed to want to keep her safe, despite taking her out of the driver’s seat. She wasn’t useful to him in that way anymore. As long as he could keep his strength, she wouldn’t be. And they had an entire second day to look forward to on the train, unbothered and isolated so Loki could get all the rest he needed. If luck was on her side, he wouldn’t need her again unless they ran into some calamity.

But he still wouldn’t let her go, and still wanted to keep her safe. And Darcy knew why. If he wanted a son, and thought he could get one from Darcy, it wasn’t her Loki was keeping safe at all. To him, she was little more than an incubator. One he could still slap around and hurt in certain ways, if she managed to piss him off again.

But as long as she stayed on his good side, he’d be gentle. As long as she didn’t fight him, he wouldn’t hurt her. As long as she let him be in charge, she’d be safe. She would let him take what he wanted, and ignore the way he made her think she wanted it too. Because as long as she did as he said, the worst he would do to her was fuck her.

If she tried to get away, the worst Loki would do to her was make it hurt when he fucked her. If she somehow did manage to get away, the best she could hope from SHIELD was being locked away in a box deep underground for the rest of her life.

At least chained to Loki, she had good odds of ever seeing the sun again.

Even after she heard him fall asleep, Darcy stayed where she was. She ate her breakfast and read her book, knowing that Loki was not sleeping as deeply as he seemed. As soon as she got up, he’d react as if she were trying to get away. If she stayed put as he’d told her to, she might even be able to get back on his good side.

Loki slept into the afternoon, and when he finally woke, he left the cabin again without a word. Darcy wanted to follow after him, but didn’t dare. She couldn’t risk being seen. And if this were some sort of test, she couldn’t risk failing. Loki would not be gentle with his next lesson.

She wished there was a clock in the cabin. She had no idea how long Loki had been gone for, but it seemed entirely too long for snack foraging. She wondered how much cash they had left, and if he’d got caught trying to get more. She wondered if he’d abandoned her after all, and somehow found a new way to get to wherever the hell it was they were going. He’d said he couldn’t teleport himself anywhere safely without knowing where he was going, but she didn’t know exactly what that meant. Did he need to know where on the map he was going? Or did he need to know precisely, down to the square inch where he was going? Would teleporting blind run the risk of putting him into a wall if he wasn’t careful?

Darcy had no idea. But he seemed reluctant enough to try that she thought it might be the latter. He said he needed an anchor, and she didn’t know what that meant either. Either way, she didn’t think he’d found his own way anywhere, without taking a risk he’d so recently refused to even entertain.

When he finally came back, Darcy was surprised to be relieved. He had more snacks and another newspaper, though neither explained why he had taken so long. As he locked the door behind him, Loki looked up at her with a sharp gaze that felt almost accusatory. It made Darcy want to disappear into her own skin.

"Where’d you go?" she asked cautiously.

"Searching for resources," Loki said. He finally tossed her another sandwich before disappearing into his own bunk.

"Find anything good?" Darcy asked.

"Obviously not."

He was a sarcastic fucker when he was feeling better. And still not able to actually get them away from SHIELD any faster. But he also wasn’t showing any interest in Darcy’s existence, which she took as a small victory.

But she couldn’t stay in her bunk forever. Before long, she had to use the toilet, and as much as she didn’t want to use the one in their cabin, she knew Loki wasn’t going to give her any choice. Carefully, she climbed down from her bunk and locked herself into the tiny closet, feeling bizarrely exposed even with the door between them. But she was left alone and able to do what needed to be done, and when she crept out to wash in the sink, Loki was still asleep. She thought she might have got away with it, but as she reached for the ladder, Loki grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her closer. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to fight it, Darcy sighed and crawled into the tiny bed beside him, settling on her side so her back was once again to his chest. His arm quickly fell over her, pinning her down with a familiar weight.

Once again trapped and out of options, Darcy closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep. The sun still shone through the window, and she wasn’t particularly tired. Every time Loki moved or shifted behind her, Darcy braced for his hands to start wandering, but he seemed well and truly asleep. She tried to pull the thin blanket over herself, but they were both lying on top of it, making it impossible to get to it properly. Her shifting and shuffling woke Loki, and she froze in place as he held her more tightly against him.

"I’m cold," she said, knowing he could hear her.

After a moment, he eased his grip on her. Rather than trying to get to the blanket they were lying on, Darcy managed to sit up just enough to reach to the bunk above, pulling her own blanket down. Her book and the plastic cup her fruit had come in fell to the floor as she freed the blanket, ignored and forgotten. Darcy pulled the blanket around her, feeling no more protected and no less exposed for it. But somehow, she began to drift off to sleep all the same, having nothing else in the world to do.

When she woke again, the cabin was dim. Sun no longer shone through the window, replaced by the reading lamp in the bunk. Loki’s hand was still on her, resting on her hip while he read over the newspaper he’d fetched earlier. It was a mockery of casual intimacy, once again something that should have felt familiar, but instead only managed to violate her mind and her senses. Darcy tried to stay still, but her body was stiff and everything ached from being stuck on her side for untold hours. She slowly sat up, unsurprised when Loki didn’t move his hand from her, instead following her motions and keeping contact between them.

"Can I please go take a shower?" she asked, imagining she could feel the dirt on her skin.

"No," Loki said. "It can wait."

"You got to take a shower," Darcy said, immediately wishing she hadn’t.

Loki glanced over at her, looking like he was close to getting angry with her all over again.

"And if you’re seen, then what?" he asked. "Or shall I exhaust myself all over again for you?"

That guilt was back, because she knew the other reason Loki was feeling better was not having to constantly use his magic to hide her as well. And the way he still wanted to spend more time asleep than awake probably meant he still wasn’t feeling great. He was just feeling well enough to take care of himself.

Darcy worried about what he’d be like when he was feeling well enough to make good on some of his other threats. She’d seen Thor out there in the desert, flying around and throwing that hammer like it was nothing. Whatever Thor was, Loki was the same thing. And he was pissed, and wouldn’t hold back. Darcy didn’t want to be sitting in a bed next to him, their bodies so close together she could feel him breathing beside her. But his hand still held onto her thigh tightly, and even through the blanket, his fingers dug into her skin. She wanted to get up and flee back to her bunk, but she didn’t dare. Instead, she looked around and found her book on the floor, close enough that she could lean down and grab it. She could feel Loki watching her as she fetched it, and ignored him as she settled back as comfortably as she could with half a flat pillow behind her.

"What’s… Elf-whatsit like?" she asked as she tried to find her place in her book.

"Alfheim," Loki corrected.

"What’s it like?" Darcy asked again.

She ignored the way Loki looked at her, like he was almost pleased about something.

"It’s full of elves. And all the things elves like."

He was obviously being obtuse to wind her up, so Darcy dropped the line of questioning. She figured she’d see for herself once they got there. Assuming he intended to take her, but if he wanted a son, Darcy thought it was a safe assumption. He wouldn’t get what he wanted from her if he left her behind.

And at least on Alfheim, Darcy assumed Loki would be entirely too distracted with his plans to take over Earth to worry about continuing the family line.