Darcy’s sense of time had become completely twisted and broken. She had no idea how long she lay on the bunk before someone else came to visit her. She didn’t turn around to look at the sound of the door opening, or at the footsteps as they entered the room. Darcy didn’t want to speak to another man in a black suit ever again. She knew they’d never stop bothering her, but that didn’t mean she’d have to cooperate when they did.
“Miss Lewis, are you hungry?”
It wasn’t a man who spoke this time. Hearing a woman’s voice was enough to convince Darcy to turn around and look. She was tiny; even shorter than Darcy, but she still held herself like one of them. Darcy had no doubt she probably new kung fu.
“No,” Darcy said.
It was a lie, but she didn’t want to deal with any of it. Instead, she lay back down, staring at the wall in front of her.
“Look,” the agent said. Darcy could hear her setting the tray down on the floor, before moving a little closer. “I don’t know what happened out there, but I know it was nothing good. I understand that you probably just want to crawl into a hole and stop existing for a while.”
Darcy didn’t want kind words. She’d had enough kind words that meant nothing for a life time. She said nothing, because she had nothing to say, and let the room hang in silence until the agent behind her sighed.
“We’ll be docking in about an hour, and it might be a while after that before you’ll have another opportunity to eat something.”
The agent knocked on the door, and a few moments later Darcy heard it open. She stayed where she was as the agent left her alone again. Whatever had been brought in for her would remain forever a mystery, because Darcy wanted nothing to do with it. She’d had enough of people pretending to be her friend only so she wouldn’t see it coming when they turned around and hurt her. She’d had enough of people acting like they were on her side when they were part of the entire reason the world was a horrible, awful place. These people thought they were doing good things, but Darcy knew better. She’d seen with her own eyes just how horrible they were.
And now that they had Darcy, she knew she would be treated no better. They probably wouldn’t cut her open and grow bits of her in jars, but it would only be a matter of time before they figured out exactly what Loki had done to her. What she couldn’t say out loud because he wouldn’t allow her. But she didn’t need to say it. Sooner or later it would become obvious, and there would be nothing Darcy could to do stop SHIELD from being their horrible selves.
She stayed exactly where she was even as the carrier began rocking and heaving uneasily for a frantic few minutes. Darcy barely knew which direction was up, and couldn’t tell if they had stopped or picked up speed, or were beginning to sink. If the ship were sinking, Darcy wondered if she’d be worth saving, or if she’d be left where she was to drown.
She wondered why the thought of it didn’t bother her more.
Darcy didn’t even look up when the door opened again. She could hear the person behind her stop just inside the door, lingering for a few moments before stepping close to the cot.
“Miss Lewis,” the same agent from before said. “It’s time to come with me.”
Darcy only wasn’t crying because she was too numb and hollow to even try. Despite it, her face still felt hot and wet as she glowered at the wall in front of her.
“You can’t stay here, Miss Lewis. Come on,” the agent said again.
Darcy couldn’t force herself to move, but the agent behind her didn’t seem too keen on forcing her. A long, heavy silence lingered over them while Darcy waited to be hauled to her feet. But it never happened, and they stayed in the same tense, uncomfortable silence until finally Darcy could feel the agent sitting down on the edge of the bed.
“I’m not going to pretend to understand what happened,” she said, placing a hand on Darcy’s arm. “I wish I could let you take your time, but we do need to go.”
Darcy wanted to pull away at the intrusion, but couldn’t bring herself to even flinch. What was one more person invading her space, in what was going to become a long string of them? What was one more person pretending to be her friend? Pretending to be on her side?
The door behind her opened again, but Darcy couldn’t hear anyone else coming into the small room.
“Solomon, we need to get out of here,” Coulson said from the hall.
Nothing else was said, and a moment later the door closed again. They were silent for what felt like an eternity, until Solomon shifted in her seat.
“It sucks. I know,” she said. “But you heard him. We have to go.”
She stood up again, giving Darcy room to get up. Even then, Darcy took a long moment to force herself upright, and an even longer moment to swing around and put her feet on the floor. She wasn’t handcuffed when she got up, but she knew Agent Solomon probably knew thirty ways to kill her without even touching a weapon. Sick of being around people who could hurt her if they wanted, Darcy stared at the floor as she was led off the carrier, unsure where they were going. They’d probably docked in England or Norway or something, and would be getting on another plane to fly back across the Atlantic. She let out a shaky breath at the thought, but she did not have the energy to even get worked up properly. Apparently the best way to face her fears was to be more afraid of everything else around her.
Once on the carrier’s deck, Darcy could see that they were moored next to other aircraft carriers and big battleships. Darcy didn’t know what an English or Norwegian naval base might look like, but somehow nothing about where she stood looked European. They caught up with Coulson as they walked along the deck, but if he had anything to say to her, he kept it to himself. Darcy in turn ignored him, keeping her gaze down to her feet while trying to figure out where she was now. Without her coat, the cold wind off the water bit against her, but it had been cold her entire trip, so all she knew was that she was still somewhere in the northern Atlantic.
She was led to a rickety flight of stairs that took them down to the pier, but Darcy knew she didn’t have the luxury to stall. Loki might have lost his patience and picked her up if she didn’t get moving fast enough. Surrounded by two secret agents, Darcy wondered if she’d be tazed or shot first if she didn’t comply. Screwing up her wits, Darcy carefully walked down the stairs, with Solomon in front of her and Coulson behind her. Glancing up from her feet, Darcy spotted a familiar big, black SUV with government plates, and she wondered how they’d managed to get their own cars over to Europe like that. If they’d been on the carrier and craned down somehow.
She let herself be led into the back seat, because it was warm and dry. A grate separated the back seat from the front, ostensibly protecting Coulson and Solomon from her, but she couldn’t help but feel like she was more protected from them with the barrier. Once the two of them were settled in the front, with Solomon at the wheel, they wasted no time in getting moving. As they left the pier and turned onto a road, Darcy noticed the signs were all in English. She looked out at the other cars on the road, and realised that the plates were all American. But that wasn’t possible. They’d been somewhere near Iceland when SHIELD picked them up, and hadn’t been moving for more than a few hours at most. It had taken all day for Kristján’s fishing boat to just get from Greenland to Iceland. She figured an aircraft carrier would be faster, but not that much faster. It would have taken them days, at least, to get all the way across the Atlantic like that, and she was fairly certain she hadn’t fallen asleep at all, much less for days. But at the same time, she couldn’t deny what she was seeing all around her. The base was American. Somehow, she was back in America.
She wasn’t sure where she expected them to take her, but a hospital wasn’t anywhere on the list of possibilities. Even as they pulled into the lot surrounding it, Darcy wondered what the deception was going to be. Instead of going through the front doors, Solomon parked near the ambulance bay, making it abundantly clear they were going inside.
There was no way SHIELD could have known the full extent of what Loki had done to her, and yet all Darcy could think about was their needles and scalpels, and what they would do to her body in the name of “science.” When Solomon got out of the car and opened the back door for Darcy, she stalled, unable to face what was coming next.
“They want to make sure you’re not hurt,” Solomon said, trying to be friendly and failing. Darcy still didn’t want to hear it.
“I’m not. I’m fine,” Darcy said.
She wasn’t fine. Everything hurt, and the fact that she still hurt as much as she had that morning only reinforced her belief that she hadn’t fallen asleep and skipped a few days. She could still feel Loki, on top of her, and inside her, burning every time she moved wrong.
“I understand. I really do,” Solomon said. “But they’re not going to take my word for it. You have to at least go inside, and we can go from there.”
Darcy took a deep breath and looked over her shoulder, finding Coulson looking less than patient on the other side of the car. Nodding, she slid out onto the cold pavement. She tried to come up with an excuse, or a plan, or anything to get away from what was about to happen, but her mind was completely blank. As she was led through the back doors to the emergency room, Darcy wondered if Loki was going to show up again, but a bigger part of her knew he was gone forever. He’d said again and again that he’d leave her behind, and that’s exactly what he’d done. He was probably on Alfheim at that very moment, having the time of his life while Darcy was led away to be poked and studied by someone who didn’t deserve his medical degree.
They were met just inside the door by a nurse, who led them to a private room, separated from the rest of the chaos and noise. Coulson and Solomon both at least waited outside while Darcy was left alone with the nurse. Without waiting to be told that she could, Darcy sat down in the chair near the wall, trying to find anything in the room that might help her. Unless she could figure out a use for rubber gloves and cotton balls, there was absolutely nothing of use out on display.
“The doctor will be in here shortly to take a look at you, but let’s get some information,” the nurse said.
She might have been a nurse, but Darcy expected her to know how to throw a punch just like the rest of them. She wondered what the threshold for cooperation would be before even the nurses and doctors started getting violent. She wondered whether she’d be allowed to say no at all.
“I don’t need to see a doctor,” Darcy said, wondering what any of them could do that was possibly any worse than what Loki had already done to her.
The nurse didn’t even hide her skepticism. She logged into a computer terminal in the corner of the room and started typing something into a form. A moment later, she stepped close, getting herself too much up in Darcy’s space.
“How’d this happen?” she asked, trying to nudge Darcy to see her face better.
Rather than letting her see the marks on her face, Darcy turned the other way, exposing only the side of her face that Loki hadn’t struck.
“I’m fine. Nothing happened,” she said.
She knew she shouldn’t be fighting this. She knew she needed to tell them, but she couldn’t. Even if she could make the words come out and break through whatever Loki had done to her to keep her silent, she didn’t want them to know. If they knew he’d raped her, they’d want to know how many times. And if they knew how many times, they’d want to know why she hadn’t fought back more. They’d want to know why she hadn’t tried to escape.
They’d know that she laid back and let it happen. They’d know that she’d stayed with him because she couldn’t bring herself to leave. They’d want to do tests and find out if she was pregnant, and then they’d throw her in a cage for endless experiments.
And from the way the nurse looked at her, Darcy could tell they already knew. They might not have known everything, but they knew enough.
“Are you in any pain anywhere else?” the nurse asked.
Darcy shrugged. She couldn’t even say that much, because Loki did not want them to know.
“I strongly recommend you let the doctor examine you,” the nurse said. “There could be internal injuries you don’t know about.”
Darcy shook her head. They knew. They knew, and it didn’t matter what she said or did, because they were only looking for confirmation at this point.
“I’m fine,” Darcy said, because it was the only thing she could force herself to say.
She noticed the nurse wasn’t looking at her face anymore. She was looking down, at Darcy’s hands in her lap. Her hands, and her wrists still decorated in bruises from being held down. Darcy crossed her arms around her, trying to hide the marks from view, but it was too late.
They knew, and there was nothing Darcy could do about it.
“Can I go now?” Darcy asked.
The nurse lingered for a long moment before returning to the computer terminal to type something else up.
“I’ll go see what the doctor has to say,” she said.
She locked up the screen and walked out of the room, leaving Darcy alone. She wanted to be sick. She wanted to tell them everything he had done to her, so they’d know she wasn’t the willing participant she looked like. But she had been. Even after he’d kidnapped her, she still tried to help. Even after he’d talked his way into her pants, making her think it was her only chance of survival, she still tried to help. Even after he held her down while she screamed and cried, she still tried to help.
Twice, he’d held her down. Only twice, her brain told her. Every other time, she had allowed it to happen. Half the time she rode him. Once, she even asked for it.
Asked for it because that’s how he’d led the conversation, but the words still came from her mouth. She hadn’t asked outright for him to fuck her, but they’d both known what she meant when she asked him to use his magic. She knew even then that his magic was tied to sex, because he’d told her.
She had been a willing participant not only in his escape, but in her own abduction. She had been a willing participant when he fucked her. When she had sex with him, that traitorous voice in her head reminded her. She rode him and got off doing it, so how could it have truly been rape? If she only fought back twice, then she must have wanted it every other time. She had put so much effort and energy into wanting to please him; wanting to make him happy. In such a short time, she had learned what he liked, and had done those things without arguing.
She had done those things so he didn’t hurt her again. She had done them under duress. She never had sex with him; he raped her again and again, with or without threats or violence.
The threats were always there. Just not always spoken.
He raped her, and forced her to actively participate. Forced her to ride his dick until her mind and body became so confused that she thought she did want it.
And yet, she didn’t tell a single person. She’d never even tried. She could have told Mike, but she didn’t. She could have told anyone who had transported them, but she didn’t. She could have told anyone who had lodged them, but she didn’t. If she hadn’t made an effort to escape, then she hadn’t truly been abducted. If she hadn’t made an effort to tell someone what he’d done to her, then she must have wanted it. And if she wanted it, it wasn’t rape.
The thoughts chased each other around in circles, endlessly cycling back to the same conclusions. Rape was rape, and consent was consent, and Darcy had never in her life thought the two could ever be confused. And yet, it had happened to her, time and time and time again, and the more she thought about it, the more confused she became. Even though he had held her down and left marks, that same insidious part of her brain reminded her that at least part of her had wanted it. She came on his dick, being held down. She hadn’t faked that orgasm, but had she faked her tears?
She came on his dick while she rode him. She came on his fingers, and on his mouth, and didn’t fight back nearly as much as she could have. She didn’t kick or bite or scratch when she could have. When he told her to undress, she did, even though she knew what was about to happen.
That he had held her down twice was the only thing both sides of her brain could agree on. But whether she had truly been raped, or just discovered some horrible kink about herself, she couldn’t even decide. Because even as he held her down, even as she kicked and cried, her body had wanted it.
And she couldn’t even tell anyone, and hear from someone else their assessment of what had happened, because he wouldn’t let her. He had done so much more to her than she had even realised, and now she was trapped with her own thoughts, unable to do anything but make herself more confused.
So she held on to what she knew. She had been held down twice. Whether or not it was rape didn’t matter. He had held her down and hurt her, and she hadn’t asked for either of those things. Everything else she had done to him, and let him do to her was in an effort to keep him from hurting her.
So she held onto that and waited quietly for the door to open again.
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