Sweat poured off of Clint's body as his fists slammed into the training dummy in front of his again, and again, and again, and again. He'd been training for hours. Since midnight when he gave up on sleeping and came down to the Tower's gym. The sun had long risen and set. And though his body screamed in agony, still he pushed himself. Self loathing thoughts filled his head, how he wasn't good enough, wasn't strong enough, and never would be. He had blood on his hands, so did everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. And up until recently, he'd been doing a good job of accepting that blood on his hands. But after Loki, after the Tesseract, after the Battle For New York, and after experiencing mind control, Clint finally found himself broken. His hands were no longer covered in blood, nor simply soaked in it. It wasn't just his hands that were gushing, bleeding; it was his mind. Every time he fell asleep, he had nightmares much more terrible than anything he or Nat could ever remember. Nat...his partner, his right hand, and in many ways, his soul mate. The only woman he'd ever trusted more than himself. And he'd tried to kill her. He attacked the dummy with new vigor, trying to expel the hatred and anger and pain from his abused body. Now he wasn't sure what was sweat on his face and what was tears. He could have killed her, almost did. What would he have done if he had awoken to find that the only thing that made his life worth living anymore was gone. And because of him. with one feral blow the dummy's weakened head flew off of it's body. Clint stood there, still, shaking. His knees quivered, and before he could stop himself he fell face first on the padded exercise mat. He lay there, gasping for breath. He was a failure. He'd killed men and women that had respected him, trusted him. He'd failed them. He'd failed Natasha. And that's what hurt the most. A cool hand placed itself soothingly on his forehead, and he was so exhausted he couldn't even lift his arms to ward off the person who could be a potential enemy. He forced his eyes open to see the very concerned face of Dr. Banner's new assistant. "Are you ok?" Clint grunted, he couldn't even make himself nod. The girl frowned and hooked her arms under his armpits, lifting him from behind with a grunt as she dragged him over to a wall. He leaned on it gratefully and she started speaking in a soothing voice, "I'm Ava Walker, I'm Dr. Banner's assistant, Clint." He grunted again. She ran a cool hand over his forehead again. He noticed she was wearing a bandage on her forearm. As he stared at it, she answered softly, "Bruce had a little mishap in the lab today. I got in Hulk's way when I was trying to calm Jane down, and he tried to stop, really he did, but a shard of flooring came up and...slashed me." Clint shook his head, and managed to breathe out, "Not his fault. Can't control." She nodded. "I know, I've told him so many times. But he's been under a lot of stress lately. Actually, he's not the only one." He stared at the girl in front of him, silently demanding to know what was going on with the team. His team. She said very quietly, "The team misses you, Clint. You guys went through a lot together. Like it or not, you're family now. And this family of yours doesn't do well without each member present." The door opened, and Clint felt a sigh of relief escape him as Nat stalked in. She looked just like she always did, beautiful and dangerous. But he could see the little muscle jumping in her jaw that meant she was worried. He asked hoarsely, "Forgive me?" Her expression cleared. "Yes." Ava smiled, and stood. She touched Nat gently on the shoulder as she passed her and whispered something to her in Russian. Nat smiled. Ava paused when she reached the door, then turned and said, "You're a hero, Clint. And I still believe in heroes." And with a smile, she was gone.