It was well into night by the time Darcy could see lights out the window. They sailed past the lights, hugging the coast as close as they were able until they finally came to a harbour. As soon as they were moored, Darcy and Loki were quickly ushered off the boat to a car waiting on the dock.

“Quickly, quickly,” the man behind the wheel said.

Darcy made sure they had all their things and that Loki was following behind as she walked up to the car.

“Before you’re seen. Quick,” the driver said, not even giving Darcy a chance to figure out if he was their person.

She glanced to Loki, but having few other options, got into the back of the man’s car. Loki got in beside her, and before he even had the door closed they were driving away from the water. Darcy looked around the dark port around them, wondering if they’d made the right call. She leaned close to Loki, tugging him down so she could speak quietly.

“Can you get us away if you need to?” she asked in his ear.

He looked at her and nodded, saying nothing in return. It was enough for Darcy. She didn’t think they’d got into the wrong car, but just in case she needed to know that they weren’t trapped if they had. But as they kept driving, away from the port and through the city that confidence began to fade. Once again, she didn’t know where they were being taken. Every car they passed sent a jolt of fear through her as she began to realise SHIELD was probably in Reykjavík as well. They probably figured out they’d been duped before, and worked out where they needed to be.

But they drove deeper into a city that was bigger than Darcy expected it to be, after everything they’d seen so far. She felt Loki’s nervousness radiating off of him, doing nothing for her own uncertainty about where they were going. Loki took her not by the hand, but by the wrist, holding on like he expected to have to do something drastic at any moment.

“Not so tight, please,” Darcy said.

He loosened his grip just enough so it no longer hurt, but not enough for her to slip free, either intentionally or by accident. But nothing happened. They drove further into the night, stopping finally outside a large white building. The man driving them threw his car into park and turned to hand Loki another envelope full of bribe money and fake information.

“Go. Now,” he said.

Loki wasted no time. He opened the door and pulled Darcy with him, and this time she didn’t complain about being dragged along. The man’s urgency had rubbed off on them, and she wondered how safe they’d be in a hotel all alone.

And then she realised they were being stuck in hotels because it wasn’t safe to put them in spare bedrooms and on sofas. The people helping them were in just as much danger as they were, and wanted to minimise that risk as much as possible.

Inside the hotel, they found someone at the front desk to take their bribe and trade it for a key. The woman at the desk spoke quickly, in the same language Kristján’s fisherman friend had spoken. Then she disappeared, and they were on their own. They found the room easily enough and let themselves in, finding it clean and airy and once again, containing only one bed. At this point, even if there had been two beds, Darcy knew they’d only be using one anyway.

She stripped off her coat as Loki locked up the room behind them, and wandered through to look at what was available. This one at least had a private bathroom, unlike the one in Greenland. Cold and tired and aching from head to toe, Darcy erred on the side of caution and turned to Loki.

“Can I take a bath?” she asked.

He nodded and handed her the bag with their clothes. Not wasting another second, Darcy stepped into the bathroom and closed the door behind her. She kicked off her shoes and started stripping before she even got to the bath, and got inside as soon as the water started running. The water was warm, and the tub was big, and for the first time in far too long, Darcy almost felt like she could relax. She let the water run until she could completely submerge herself, and took the opportunity to just exist.

There were tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner on the side of the tub. As Darcy sat up to reach for one, she heard Loki at the door and realised she’d forgotten to lock it. As he let himself in, Darcy covered her chest with her arms and brought her knees up, trying to hide as much of her body as possible. Loki watched her for a moment before closing the door and stepping forward. He knelt by the side of the tub, reaching out to touch her bare skin, dragging his hand down her back in a way that wasn’t entirely innocent. Already, this was a fight she had lost. She hadn’t locked him out, and now he was there beside her, finding entirely new ways to invade her space. She had always managed to keep some clothes on, even at the worst of it. Now, completely naked and exposed in every possible way, there was nothing left to hide from him.

He took the bottle of shampoo from her hand and opened it, giving it a little sniff.

“It’s for your hair,” Darcy said, not sure what else to do. Her voice sounded like a croak in her own ears as she struggled to keep herself calm.

She was surprised when he poured some out and started washing her hair, gently massaging her scalp and working the lather from root to tip. But she had no idea what he was trying to do. He certainly wasn’t helping her relax. She tried to relax, and pretend he was someone else, but she was completely unable to convince herself. Alone, with no one between them, and completely naked and vulnerable, all Darcy could think about was the hands in her hair. The same hands that had held her down, and left bruises on her skin. The same hands that had killed people right in front of her eyes. That they were capable of such violent, horrible things, and also capable of being soft and gentle and deliberate was a thought Darcy could hardly comprehend.

"We’re very close," Loki said, keeping his voice low as he scrubbed through her hair. "There’s still magic in this part of your world. I can feel it."

If Loki could feel the magic, then it meant there wasn’t much time left to come up with a way out of whatever was in store for her at the end of the line. If she was going to get away from Loki, she needed to find a way to do it fast. And she needed to find a way that would also keep her away from SHIELD.

"And that means I need you to listen to me," Loki said, apparently unaware of Darcy having no interest in any of it. "Very carefully. If you do not do exactly as I say, I will not protect you. I have neither the time nor luxury to be patient with you. Am I understood?"

Darcy took a deep breath and nodded. Loki said a lot that sounded like lies and empty promises, but this she knew was true. She had known it from the very beginning, that he would only keep her safe as long as she was useful. Only now, he was finally admitting it.

"Good. I knew you could learn."

He looked around the bathroom for a moment before moving his hand to Darcy’s chest, just below her neck. He pushed, and for a moment, she resisted.

"Don’t make me take back my words," Loki said.

Darcy leaned back, keeping her arms folded over her chest as she lay back in the water. He didn’t push her all the way under, and kept his touch just as gentle as he worked the water through her hair to rinse it clean. He moved his hand to stroke the side of her face, and she tried to look away from him, not wanting to even guess at whatever thoughts he had brewing in his head. A moment later, he stood again, and she watched him pause for just a few seconds before bending to pick up the bag from the floor.

"Please don’t," Darcy said, sitting up enough to see him picking up the clothes she had left on the floor.

Loki said nothing and left, taking the bag and her clothes with him. He closed the door, leaving her trapped, alone and helpless. Her hopes of having a final relaxing evening were dashed, and she needed to get out of the water as soon as possible. But she had nowhere to go. She couldn’t get dressed, and she couldn’t stay in the bathroom forever. She had to do something. There were towels at least. She could cover herself with one long enough to find some passably clean clothes.

Darcy moved one step at a time, first draining the water, letting it all fall away before she stood. Then she grabbed a towel from the rack and started drying herself. The towel was thick and fluffy, but not quite big enough to completely cover herself. It left an open gap down her side that exposed far more skin than she wanted to. It didn’t matter that he’d seen it all. She didn’t want him to see any more of it. But no matter how much she tugged and fussed, it wouldn’t close completely. Out of options, Darcy took a deep breath and opened the door. She couldn’t see the bag anywhere, because of course he wasn’t going to make it easy. What she did find was Loki stretched out on the bed, watching her as she stood in the doorway. He’d taken off his shirt again, but had kept his jeans on. Still, his intention was plain as day. Darcy found herself unable to move from where she stood, her mind and body alike refusing to take the first step. She just stood, and watched, and waited for something to happen.

It didn’t take long for Loki to get bored of waiting. He got up from the bed and stepped over to Darcy, backing her against the wall. He’d always been bigger than she was, but he hadn’t seemed quite so big when she first let him into her hotel room back in New Mexico. Then, he’d seemed so worn down and helpless, she had completely overlooked his size. But now, standing with his body against hers, back straight and looming over her, she realised exactly how big he was.

"I don’t want this," she said.

She held tightly to the towel wrapped around her as Loki crowded even closer against her.

"You’ll change your mind."

Loki ran a hand down the side of her face before shifting and forcing her toward the bed. Even as he backed her against the mattress, Darcy tried to keep her towel closed around her. He used his size and his weight to push her onto her back as his words from just minutes earlier echoed in her mind. She knew that if she fought against him, he’d hurt her. But now there was the added threat of him throwing her to the wolves if she didn’t do what he said; a threat that had always been there, but which had now been given words. Still, she kept her legs tightly closed, resisting as much as she could even as he pulled them apart. As he ran his hand down the inside of her thigh, she wished he’d get it over with. Instead, he teased, pretending to draw out her enjoyment. Darcy stared up at the ceiling, trying to ignore the way her ass hung halfway off the bed. She wanted to back away and put as much distance between them as possible, but her body still refused to move, now frozen out of fear.

Then, she felt both of his hands on her, and was wholly unprepared to feel his mouth on her a moment later. It sent a jolt through her that finally triggered her body to move, to try to squirm away, but his grip on her hips kept her right where she was. She tried to push her heels against him, but couldn’t find enough purchase against his body without knocking into him in a way he might mistake for kicking him.

"No," she said, screwing her eyes shut.

He invaded her with his mouth and fingers alike, teasing out every spot he could find. It didn’t take long for him to find the right spot to make her body react, building arousal that only made her feel cheap and dirty and used. It made her want to get away even more, but she felt Loki chuckle against her, and knew it was over. He’d noticed, and leaned into it all the more, drawing shameful noises from her. She squirmed and writhed against him, not sure if she was still trying to get away, or trying to get more out of him.

"No," she said again as she came, grinding herself against his mouth despite her own protests.

Loki laughed against her again, and then was gone, leaving her cold and wet and exposed. She dared to look at him as he pulled off his jeans, tossing them carelessly aside. He climbed into bed with her, and when he guided her to a better position, she didn’t fight him. When he pulled the towel away, she held onto it still, but didn’t fight back as her entire body was exposed to him. He kissed a trail up her body, intimate and filthy all at once. She lay still even as he climbed on top of her and forced himself inside her. He moved like he thought he was making love to her, kissing her neck and tangling his hands in her hair. Darcy refused to let herself respond to any of it, still staring up at the ceiling and trying to pretend she was somewhere else.

Then he rolled over, taking even that from her as he forced her on top of him. He preferred it this way, and she hated that she knew that. His hands on her hips forced her to move on top of him, and as he hit that spot in her again and again, Darcy closed her eyes and tried to ignore it.

"I knew you’d change your mind," Loki said breathlessly.

Darcy hadn’t changed her mind. Her traitorous body had taken over, and she didn’t know what to do about it. She told herself Loki had used his magic on her, and this was his doing. She had nothing to do with it. She gave in and let him win, letting her body take over and give him what he wanted. As she fucked him the way he liked, he pulled her down into a kiss that tasted of not just herself, but of sulphur. He was doing something to her again, and she didn’t know what. His hands explored her body, touching her everywhere as she felt another orgasm rising. She whimpered against him, trying to fight it, and then his hands were on her hips again, forcing her onto him as he fucked her from beneath. She came while riding him, and wanted to cry. But he didn’t give her that chance. He rolled over again, and was no longer making love. He didn’t hold her down, but he didn’t need to. His weight as he fucked her was enough. She listened to the sound of the mattress beneath them, and the desperate little noises Loki made as he took only for his own pleasure. She wasn’t surprised when he stayed inside her after he finished. Or when he got going again only moments later. Soon, her body was just as confused as her mind, aching and sore all over, and still trying to respond to him as he went relentlessly, hard and fast and greedy.

When he was finally finished, he stayed on top of her, holding his weight on his arms to not completely crush her. He kissed her gently on the neck, and then on the mouth, deep and slow like he meant it as he rolled his hips against her. She realised he was trying to work himself up for a third round, but apparently two was all he could muster, and she could feel his dick slowly going soft inside her. Finally, he rolled off her and reached to turn out the light beside the bed, plunging the room into darkness. Darcy didn’t move as he negotiated his way under the blankets, staying still even as he wrestled them out from under her so they were both lying together, bare skin touching as he pulled her close with her head on his shoulder and arm draped over his chest. Even then, his hands explored, touching every inch of her that he could reach,

"You’ll make a fine queen indeed," he said.

Darcy didn’t respond to him. She’d given him what he’d wanted, and she wouldn’t give him an ounce more.