Darcy was glad Loki had taken control of their situation. She didn’t have the energy, mental or physical, to deal with it anymore. He’d picked up enough along their way to know what he was supposed to do, and what the right questions to ask were. It let Darcy hang back a bit, not having to worry about saying the wrong thing or accidentally giving them away again. It let her just exist, going along for the ride without the stress of feeling like she had to orchestrate the entire thing on her own. It gave her a chance to just breathe. When they were picked up by someone else who either didn’t speak English, or didn’t want to, Loki carried on a conversation with him as if wasn’t at all an unusual thing to do. Loki spoke in the man’s language, and Darcy wondered if Loki was able to deliberately keep her from understanding what was said. He didn’t trust her, and she knew exactly how she’d lost that trust that was so vital to her survival. And if Loki was keeping new information from her, she knew exactly why. Without knowing what was being discussed, Darcy could only hang back and watch, hoping she wasn’t being sabotaged somehow. She knew this must have been how Loki had felt when she was running the show, listening to her tell every person along the way where they were going and why. And she knew this too was deliberate.

As they finally got into the man’s car, Loki pointed to Darcy as he spoke, and she could hear something in his tone shift. The guy turned in his seat to look at both of them for a moment, and then nodded, saying something quickly that almost sounded like some sort of affirmative statement. She watched as he shifted and pulled his wallet out, handing Loki what looked like a few hundred dollars, or whatever their money was called.

Loki pocketed the cash and sat back in the seat next to Darcy, saying some other quick thing to their driver.

"For provisions," Loki said quietly as he got settled.

Darcy nodded, realising he must have asked about getting them fed. Somehow, just that was enough to make her feel a little better.

Her mood was short-lived though. As soon as they turned back onto the main road, Darcy realised they were heading back to the airport. She whined quietly to herself, entirely unprepared for another long flight in an ancient tin can.

"You’ll be fine," Loki said, with an edge to his voice like he was beginning to lose his patience.

The drive to the tiny little building was quick, barely giving Darcy time to psych herself up to get back in the air. When they stopped, Loki nudged her out of the car, forcing her back out into the cold. He spent another few moments speaking to their driver before guiding her inside the terminal, where another pilot was waiting. Seeing him, Darcy completely froze up again.

"I can’t," she said, feeling more sad and pathetic than she had the day before.

Without a word, Loki picked her up, taking all other options away from her. They walked across the small terminal out to the tarmac, toward a waiting Cessna. Darcy didn’t even want to look at it. She was glad she didn’t have to walk to it, because she knew she’d never make it.

“She’s not overly fond of air travel,” Loki said to the pilot, sounding almost apologetic.

“Is she going to be okay?” he asked.

“We’ve got this far,” Loki said.

Darcy was loaded onto the tiny plane and settled in a seat that was crammed into the small space as if it hadn’t belonged. Loki was close beside her in his own seat, and for all she couldn’t stand to be near him, she was glad. She wasn’t going to cry again. She refused. She let the pilot help buckle her in and situate her with a pair of chunky headphones as she fanned her face with both hands, trying to shove everything from her mind.

“Nobody has an Ambien, do they?” she asked, her voice shaky and rough.

The pilot actually laughed as he settled into his seat. “It’s just a short hop. We’ll barely be in the air before we have to land again.”

Darcy tried to believe him. She wanted to believe him. She didn’t believe him. If it was going to be that short of a flight, why weren’t they driving instead? She hated that her only comfort in all of this was Loki, and she hated how willingly he offered it. It all tangled up in her stomach like a twisted knot, making her sick and dizzy on top of everything else.

There were no arm rests on the small seats, and when the plane started moving, Darcy flailed for anything her hands could grab. What she found was Loki’s hand, and she held tight, refusing to let go as they picked up speed and climbed into the air with a feeling entirely unlike the larger planes. She felt like at any moment, the wrong breeze might catch them and send them tumbling into the icy water below. As they flew over the water, Darcy realised why they weren’t driving. They were over the fjords, and all the tiny, jagged little islands that lived there. They climbed higher and higher over the water, finally levelling out as they came over land again. Darcy glanced over to Loki, who seemed more interested in what was going on below them, than anything going on in the plane. But this was probably some cheap novelty to him. She wondered what kinds of crazy space ships he’d been in, and how many other planets he’d visited. She’d seen that freaky light tunnel Thor travelled through, and her stomach did a flip at the thought of it.

But the pilot also was not wrong. It was only a few minutes before they began descending again, and when Darcy felt the plane start to dip out of the sky, she couldn’t stop the yelp that came out of her.

“It’s okay. We’re just starting our approach at Qaqortoq,” he said.

Darcy nodded, barely understanding what he’d said. She glanced at Loki again, and this time he was looking back at her, concern and curiosity both playing across his face. Darcy tried to breathe and keep calm, but the tiny plane didn’t feel like it was making an approach. It felt like it was falling. She’d thought the other guys’ rickety old war planes were spooky, but they apparently had nothing on the death-defying sensation of an ultralight.

A consequence of the Cessna was that its small, enclosed space made it easy to see out the windows. And she couldn’t see an airport. Instead, they were coming toward a flat sheet of ice that could only be frozen water. Darcy braced against her seat as they fell out of the sky, screaming when tyres met ice and the plane bounced back into the air again. They touched down a second time, the entire plane bouncing and juttering around as it slowly rolled to a stop.

“We’re fine,” Loki said, irritatingly calm for what had just happened.

“Please tell me this is the last one,” she said.

Somehow, deep in her stomach, she knew it wouldn’t be. She finally let go of Loki’s hand to free herself from the seat, unbuckling her belt and putting her headset back where it belonged. As soon as the door was open, she escaped the small space, struggling to keep her footing on the ice, looking around for the direction back to solid ground, where she belonged.

“You’ll meet someone on that road,” the pilot said, pointing across the snow and ice toward a cluster of brightly-coloured houses. “They’ll take you where you’re going next.”

Darcy nodded, unable to find her words. When Loki put his hand on her back to guide her forward, Darcy barely noticed. It was one more thing that had become normal. They walked as quickly as safety would allow across the ice, Darcy holding onto Loki for balance. He seemed used to this, and somehow that wasn’t surprising at all. But it was at least a short walk, and they quickly neared the edge of the lake, finding an idling SUV waiting for them at the side of the road. As the driver’s window rolled down, Loki took over, talking to the man in yet another language. Listening to them figuring out what was going on together, Darcy wondered how far Loki’s ability to pretend to speak languages went. After a moment, they seemed to come to an agreement, and electric doors unlocked with a heavy clunk. The two of them got into the back seat, and when Loki got a bit too close into her space, Darcy realised she was almost glad for it. She held onto his arm, using him to try to ground herself and regain her wits now they were back to something more familiar.

They drove through narrow, winding roads past brightly-painted houses, making their way downhill toward the sea. It wasn’t a long drive at all, but in the cold, and with all the branching streets, they never would have found it on their own. Their ride dropped them off at a small port, next to a large, red building. After a few more moments of cryptic conversation, the driver pointed to the building. Loki nodded and got out of the car first, waiting for Darcy to follow.

“Come along. Inside,” he said, settling their bag over his shoulder.

Darcy nodded, following him toward a door that opened up to a flight of stairs. At the top of the landing, Loki led them through a door, and to the last thing Darcy expected to find on some frozen Nordic island.

“It’s a fucking Thai restaurant,” Darcy said, looking around the cosy little space.

She didn’t think her stomach could handle Thai after everything she’d been through, but was hungry enough to risk it. With few other options available, Darcy picked an empty table and sat down. As Loki settled on the other side of the table, Darcy leaned forward to make sure nobody would overhear them.

“We don’t throw things here,” she said.

Loki looked up at her, giving her a critical gaze before nodding. She nodded back, trusting he wouldn’t cause a scene and get them noticed. A moment later, a young woman dropped off a pair of menus and disappeared again. Darcy picked hers up, finding herself immediately put off by the pictures. They didn’t even look bad, but the way her stomach did another flip, she knew Thai was out of the question. While Loki studied the menu with plain confusion, Darcy flipped through it until she found a kid’s menu toward the back. She couldn’t read the details, but luckily most of the headlines were in English. It was mostly French fries in different contexts, one of which came with a mystery fish. She didn’t know what 85.00kr meant, or whether it was dirt cheap or going to bankrupt them, but aside from whatever nukket kylling was she didn’t have many other options that were unlikely to make her ill.

She glanced up to see Loki frowning at his own menu, and realised that even though he probably could read it, it was full of context he completely lacked.

“You’ll probably like that one,” she said, pointing to an item that she knew was mainly fried beef strips. “It might be spicy though. I don’t know if you like that.”

She had no idea what people from outer space ate, or if Loki would bite into something with spice and think it was trying to attack or poison him. Hoping he wouldn’t make a scene, Darcy flipped her menu over to find the drinks. As she realised she could get coffee for what might be the last time ever, the waitress returned with her pad out. Rather than making Loki figure out what to do for himself, Darcy opened her menu back up and pointed at the one she wanted, holding it out for the waitress to see.

“And coffee, please,” she said slowly.

The waitress nodded and took the order down before turning to Loki. Rather than pointing like a tourist, he spoke to her, ordering with words, and apparently asking questions. Apparently he got the answers he wanted, and the waitress wrote something down and disappeared again, taking the menus with her.

“How much money do we have?” Darcy asked quietly.

Loki pulled the cash he’d been given from his pocket and handed it to Darcy. He had 500 of whatever the hell he’d been given, which seemed like a lot, which make Darcy think it was hardly anything at all. Nodding, she slipped it into her own pocket and waited for her coffee.