"Agent Barton," she called from the door to the training room. "Mind if I train with you?"
He paused in mid-launch and set his bow down. "Sure. Come on in." He walked over to her. "What did you want to work on?"
"Hand-to-hand stuff." She looked him up and down thoughtfully. "I've noticed you in action. You mostly stay up high. Why's that?"
He smiled. "I thought you were a spy, Agent Romanoff. You know I like to keep an eye on everything."
She smiled back. "It's impossible to see everything, you know that right?"
He nodded. "Even so, I see better from a distance."
"Maybe we should work on that."
"We're partners, right? Perhaps we could teach each other a thing or two."
He thought about this. "Alright. Enlighten me, then."
"Turn away from the mirror. And close your eyes."
He raised an eyebrow.
"Your eyes are your best asset, right? What if you couldn't see? How would you fight then?"
He shrugged. "What do you suggest?"
"Taking the high ground might not always be an option. Sometimes you have to feel the fight rather than see it." She backed away, crouching low. "I'm going to come at you, but I won't say from which direction. Close your eyes and try to feel…"
"Close my eyes?"
She smirked. "We're partners. Don't you trust me?"
He narrowed his eyes. "I don't trust anyone."
"Even after all we've been through? That's a shame."
"Like you trust me?"
She tilted her head to one side. "I've told you things, haven't I? Answered all your questions?"
"Yes. I've told you things too."
"So.. you do trust me?"
He shrugged. "More or less, I guess. Do you trust me?"
She thought about this for a second. "I know you to be determined and loyal. I've learned more than a few times that it's better to have you watching my back than not, and there was that one time where you kept me from being killed…" She moved closer to him. "The answer is yes, Clint." She placed her hand on top of his. "I trust you with my life. Do you trust me?"
He nodded. "I supposed I do feel slightly more at ease when you've got my back."
"Good. Now close your eyes. I'm trying to teach you something important."
He opened his eyes, blinking against the sudden bright light.
"Barton," Bruce said carefully. "It's Bruce. We're in the infirmary. Do you feel a little disoriented?"
He lifted his head and found Bruce standing a few feet away. "What are we doing in here?"
"You had another…. episode and you passed out."
"Great." He sat up on the med table. "I was out for awhile?"
Bruce shook his head. "Not that long. I would have called you, but I thought it would be best for… the other guy… if I didn't startle you."
Clint nodded slowly. "Yeah, speaking of that… I don't know how comfortable I am being alone in a room with you. No offense."
Bruce raised his hands. "No offense taken. And that's why Tony and Steve are right outside. Suited up, just in case. Although I assure you, you don't need to worry about that right now."
"They can see us, but they can't hear us," Bruce added. "I didn't think you'd want your business being spread around like gossip."
"Ah. So I guess this is where we have a heart to heart, right?"
Bruce shrugged. "That's up to you. Although I do have some questions I was hoping you could answer for me before my friends get here on Thursday."
"She had to take care of some business in Newport. She'll be back later tonight though." Bruce sat down in a chair. "You get that we're all trying to help you, right? And you understand that you need a little help right now, right?"
Clint sighed. "What do you want to know?"
"These… memories, as you call them. Are they really that random? There's no trigger that brings them on?"
He shook his head. "No. None that I can tell. It just… happens. Without warning."
"Are you always awake or does it happen when you're asleep too?"
"I'm always awake. At first, at least." He looked up. "Dr. Banner… am I going crazy?"
"No. No, you're not. My guess is that you're experiencing post traumatic stress." He thought for a moment. "Do you remember anything that happened while you were under Loki's control?"
"Nope. Not a thing."
"And these flashbacks.. when they happen. Do you know it's a memory, while it's happening I mean?"
"I don't.. think so. It feels real. Like I'm in that moment as it's happening. I don't know how to describe it. I don't… know anything anymore." He looked down. "I have no control. He's gone and I still have no control."
Bruce took his glasses off and tucked them into his shirt pocket. "We're going to get you back. Do you believe that?"
"I want to… I just don't know." He sighed. "Maybe Johnson's right. Maybe I've got myself stuck in my own head."
"Yeah, maybe. But I don't think it's your fault."
"No? How so?"
He frowned. "You say you don't remember anything from when you were not in control. Well, I can't be sure, but I think you're overcompensating what you don't know with what you do know."
"So, I am stuck in my own head."
"For the time being. My associates will be much better at assessing the situation, I assure you. I guess you just have to sit tight until then."
"'Do you want to talk some more?"
"No, I think I'm just going to turn in. Can you tell Natasha to let me know when she's back?"
"Thanks, Bruce. For… everything."