The first time they’d been forced onto a plane, Darcy hadn’t had enough time to get properly worked up over it. With a two-hour wait, in an uncomfortable seat, in a cold airport terminal, all Darcy could do was get worked up. She tried to ignore it, to think of anything else, but she had been put through so much that she had all but completely lost the ability to think of anything else. She was exhausted from not sleeping the night before, and starving from their meagre, gross breakfast. Her entire body ached and burned from what Loki had done to her only hours earlier, and the combination of all of it had left her feeling completely hollow. She knew she should try to eat something more substantial before they got on the plane and her life ended forever, but she couldn’t even bring herself to think about it any further than that. There were restaurants and shops all around them, but she didn’t trust any of them to have something she’d want to eat even under the best of circumstances.

Beside her, Loki watched the crowd with an intense glare. Darcy knew he’d made them not invisible, but somehow unnoticeable. They were still there, two people sitting uncomfortably next to one another, but utterly insignificant. Nobody looked at them for longer than it took to register their existence.

And for some reason, all Darcy wanted to do was scream.

“Please be honest with me,” she said, staring straight ahead so she didn’t have to see Loki’s face. “What’s going to happen to me when this is all over?”

Loki took her by the chin with a hold that was at once both gentle and firm, forcing her to look at him. “Do not defy me, and you will have anything you wish for,” he said.

Darcy bit her lip, trying to stay calm. She sniffed deeply, trying to clamp down on a rising wave of grief that was welling up in her chest. “I can’t do this,” she said, fighting against the urge to cry. “I can’t. I don’t…”

She cut herself off, and before she could start crying right there in the terminal, Loki dragged his thumb over her mouth, shushing her quietly.

“You can,” he said. “I know you can, because I have no patience left for you if you don’t. I do not want to cause you harm, but I will not protect you if your actions cause me harm.”

“I’m scared,” Darcy said.

Scared of the flight, scared of what would happen when they got off, scared of whatever would come next. And finally saying it out loud was the last piece of her resolve to crumble as tears fell from her eyes.

“Good,” Loki said, using his thumb to wipe aware her tears. No more false assurances. No more tender words. The mask had fallen completely, and in that moment, Darcy knew his very last shred of patience with her was well and truly gone. “If you weren’t frightented, I wouldn’t be able to trust you to do as you’re told.”

He was putting everything out in the open, and Darcy had no idea how to respond. She hated him for everything he’d done, and was almost glad to hear him tell the truth and admit it. Like some small amount of vindication in knowing that she hadn’t imagined everything. It was all real; him, her, and everything in between. Just the thought of it overwhelmed her entirely, because she could no longer pretend it hadn’t happened. She could no longer lean into the thought that maybe, just maybe, she had been over reacting, and that Loki’s behaviour was at least in part in her imagination. It had happened, and he wasn’t even trying to pretend it hadn’t.

“When we get to Alfheim, you will say not a word to anyone,” Loki said, still keeping his voice low. “We will find lodgings, and I will make you my queen. And then we will celebrate the birth of my son by destroying all those who dared to wish us harm.”

He moved his hand to her stomach, petting it gently as if there were already something there for him to feel. Despite her best efforts, Darcy could not stop crying. Tears fell down her face as she clenched her jaw to stay as silent as possible, resisting drawing attention to them.

Darcy clenched her throat against the sobs that threatened to pour forth if she let them. “I don’t want that,” she said, her voice barely a squeak in her own ears.

“You’ll learn to want it,” Loki said. “And if you know what’s best for you, you’ll learn quickly.”

Darcy realised he was not entirely wrong. She had learned, though maybe not to want the things he did. She had already learned what he liked, and how best to keep him satisfied with her. She’d learned not to fight back, because when she did Loki went out of his way to hurt her. And now, she’d have to learn to go along with whatever plan of his he was scheming up, because if she didn’t, she knew she would not survive.

His soft tone and harsh words were completely at odds with one another, echoing in Darcy’s mind as she tried to pull herself together. She could feel his hand on her stomach, his fingers tracing light circles through her clothes that threatened obscenity had he reached any lower.

“Please don’t hurt me,” Darcy said, losing her battle and now openly sobbing. “I promise, I’ll do what you say. Just don’t hurt me.”

For a moment, Loki looked almost sorry as he brought his hand back up to her face.

“Don’t make me, and I won’t,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt you. I truly don’t. But when it’s the only way you learn, you leave me with no other choice.”

He pulled her close to him, embracing her in a tight hug that was anything but comforting. With his arms around her, all Darcy could think about was how she was trapped with him; trapped by him. She cried, her chest heaving and shuddering as she struggled to keep as quiet as possible. She knew, crying against Loki’s chest in some frozen airport in the middle of nowhere, that whatever happened next would mean the end of her life as she knew it, one way or another. The best she could possibly hope for was keeping Loki happy in every way she knew how, and praying he’d get bored enough with her to forget about her. If she could keep him as he was then, soft voice and gentle touch, she might almost be able to survive him. Even if the things he said were horrible, she could pretend they weren’t if he stayed as he was then.

They’d have to get past SHIELD first, though. And exhausted and sore all over, Darcy didn’t trust herself to be able to do as she was told. Somehow, she knew that this was going to be the last gentle moment she’d ever experience in her life. And the thought of that destroyed her. Everything came crashing out of her then, and all she could do was cry even more as she buried her face in her hands, Loki stroking her hair and her back and quietly shushing her and offering more of his false assurances.

“I’m not asking for love,” Loki said, still speaking slowly as he held her close against his body. “I’m not that foolish. But surely obedience should not be this difficult to learn. I’m beginning to think you vex me intentionally, and it makes me question whether I can trust you.”

Darcy bit her lip, trying not to wail. She couldn’t believe he had the balls to say that, to paint her as the one who was acting solely to spread confusion. She couldn’t believe that a part of her wanted to go along with it; to wonder if she had been intentionally sabotaging them by telling everyone where they were going. If she was the reason they were put up in hotels, and not Loki. If she was the reason SHIELD knew they were in Iceland.

She wondered if she had manufactured a situation that allowed her to be raped again, by taking them out of spare beds and guest rooms, and into the privacy of hotels. And now the same man who had held her down and struck her, who had raped her while she screamed, embraced her and offered her comfort while telling her it was all her fault. And she was so exhausted and run down, that she took every shred of comfort he offered.

“I…” she started to say, struggling against the knot in her throat. “I’m sorry,” she said.

She didn’t know why she said it, or what she was sorry for. But then Loki kissed her on the forehead, holding her there for a long moment before his hand moved up to her face. He traced his thumb over where he had struck her, his skin almost ice cold against hers.

“It’s not a good look on you,” he said. “Don’t make me do it again.”

“I’m sorry,” Darcy said again, still struggling to get herself under control.

It felt like the right thing to say, and she still didn’t know why. And it seemed to be what Loki wanted to hear. With his hand gently rubbing up and down her back, he pulled her just a little bit closer and kissed her on the forehead again.

“I know you are,” he said. “And I know you’re exhausted and not in your right mind, but it’s no excuse. Don’t cross me, and you’ll be able to rest once we’ve left this place far behind.”

Darcy screwed her eyes shut and let herself lean against him, still crying and thinking she’d never stop.