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Compiled: The SDfSH: Therapy, Bad Days, and Tasks Series

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“Hi, Clint, how are you doing this afternoon?” Dr. Kayode asks, signing the question immediately after saying it. Clint shrugs.

 

“I’m okay,” he signs back. He’d run into a very drunk and upset Tony a few hours ago, and even though it had only taken a couple of minutes for Tony to realize what was happening and mentally sober up, it had been enough to send Clint into a series of flashbacks, and he’d found himself back to his senses hiding in an air duct he didn’t remember having climbed into. That was when his words had dried up, and he couldn’t seem to get them back.

 

A hand waves in Clint’s peripheral vision, and he looks up to see Dr. Kayode watching him. Lucky is pawing at his knee, alternating between licking Clint’s hands and resting his head in Clint’s lap. Clint tries to shake off his memories and focus. “Sorry,” he signs, and Dr. Kayode shakes his head.

 

“That’s fine. You have bad days, just like anyone else. What happened today? Something reminded you of your dad?” On Clint’s less verbal days, Dr. Kayode does his best to infer what he can about Clint’s behavior, so Clint has shorter answers to give. It makes it easier for Clint to communicate when he’s having a hard time.

 

“Yeah. Tony was drunk.” Clint’s breath hitches, and he curls up in a ball on the couch, his every instinct screaming run, run, hide, get away. He must dissociate, because next thing he knows he’s in the small space on top of the cabinet in the corner, crouched down with his shoulders touching the ceiling and his back and left arm pressed against the walls. It takes him a moment to realize that he’s also crying, tears streaming silently down his face.

 

Lucky has his front paws up on the cabinet, holding a water bottle in his mouth. Clint reaches down, taking it. Lucky immediately walks over to Dr. Kayode, taking something else from the man and bringing it back over to Clint. A small box of darts. After their first couple sessions, Dr. Kayode had set up a dart board on the wall, giving Clint something to focus on when he was upset.

 

Clint takes the box of darts, opening it and pulling out the dart with the red grip. Each of the darts is in a different color, giving Clint the opportunity to rearrange their placement on the dart board every time, making new patterns.

 

Clint tosses the dart, landing it on the “6” on the board. He digs in the box, pulling out the turquoise dart and throwing it at the “3.” He continues tossing darts under different numbers until only the purple one is left. He twirls the dart in his fingers for a minute before tossing it, landing it perfectly in the center of the dart board. He finally looks at Dr. Kayode again.

 

“How long has it been?” he signs, and Dr. Kayode checks his watch.

 

“Two hours. Do you want to stay up there?”

 

Clint nods. “Please.” A pause. “Do you think I’ll ever stop being scared of drunk men?”

 

Dr. Kayode shrugs. “Probably not. But it’ll get easier. We’re not here to fix you. We’re here to get you to be able to cope as safely and reasonably as possible. That’s all. Trauma doesn’t go away. But it gets much easier to manage.”

 

Clint nods again. “At least you’re honest.”

 

“I try to be.”

 

The rest of the session goes easier, after that. Clint climbs down from his perch 45 minutes later, sitting on the couch with Lucky draped across his lap, and 15 minutes after that their session ends, and Clint heads out to find Tony, Lucky trotting at his side. They find him with Diva in the workshop, and Clint knocks on the workshop door, Tony turning and waving him in.

 

“Hey. I’m really sorry about earlier,” he says, signing it too, and Clint nods.

 

“It’s okay,” he signs back. “Today was just a bad day. Therapy sucked too.”

 

“Therapy always sucks.”

 

“Very true. Do you want to watch Queer Eye? I haven’t gotten caught up on season three yet.”

 

Tony grins, closing out the schematic he was working on. “I always want to watch Queer Eye. Tan France is my style icon. You should take notes.”

 

“Fuck you, Stark, I’m fashionable.” Clint heads back to the workshop door, Tony walking beside him, both dogs trailing along.

 

“Barton. Sweatpants and pajama shirts isn’t a fashion statement, that’s a cry for help.”

 

“Whatever. Nominate me for Queer Eye then, asshole.”

 

“You think I haven’t already? Come on. I thought we were better friends than that.”

 


 

Clint spends a week and a half in a depressive episode. He spends a lot of his time in bed or on the couch, snacking on things. He only goes to about half of the meals the rest of the team has together, and he tries to go to his personal shooting range, but finds himself bored and uninterested.

 

He plays Mario Kart with Sam, but can’t find the energy to care when he loses. Lucky gets him to go out and walk, bringing his leash to Clint until the man gives up and takes Lucky out on a walk around the neighborhood, and while it helps, Clint still just can’t shake the vaguely numb, hollow feeling he has.

 

He forgets to brush his teeth most of the days, and can’t find the effort to shower, opting to just stay in bed instead, scrolling absently on his phone. Dr. Kayode notices as soon as he enters their therapy session that Clint is out of sorts, and he changes his plan for their session, deciding instead to focus on what they can do for Clint to help him through until this depressive episode passes.

 

“Hi Clint. Did Tony ever make you those paintball guns and bow and arrows you had wanted at one point?” he asks, and Clint frowns.

 

“Yeah. Why?”

 

Dr. Kayode shrugs. “Have you thought of using them to make art pieces?”

 

“What, like splatter paint?”

 

“Exactly like splatter paint. It could be a nice change of pace.”

 

Clint tilts his head to the side, considering. “Yeah, that could be interesting, I guess.”

 

“Do you want to go do that for our session today instead?”

 

Clint stands, Lucky standing to join him. “Sure. We’d need a canvas for it, though.”

 

“I bet we could get Tony to help with that, if we ask nicely,” Dr. Kayode says, “Besides, you like bothering Tony, don’t you?”

 

Clint nods. “You know me too well, Doc. Okay, I think JARVIS can ask for us. JARVIS?”

 

“Done, Agent Barton. Sir says he will meet you in your shooting range in 10 minutes.”

 

Dr. Kayode gestures to the door. “After you.”

 

When they reach the shooting range, Lucky stays outside the room in the viewing area, and Clint pulls out one of the paintball guns and the paintball bow and arrows, dumping a handful of different color paintballs into the gun’s chamber and filling a quiver with a random assortment of paintball arrows.

 

By the time he’s set up his weapons the way he wants them, Tony’s walking into the room in one of his older armors, carrying a stack of scrap metal pieces. He sets them around the room, then steps out of the armor, the armor closing up again behind him.

 

“Okay, so you can shoot at any of the metal pieces, and I’m gonna leave the suit behind, too. I’ve been wanting a more rainbow armor for a while, but it’s hard to get the same randomized effect of splash painting it just by using a random generator. So go to town, anything else in the room that gets splashed is fine, and if you decide later that you don’t like any of the spilled color, I can clean it up. I have a formula specifically for reversing the paint. Happy shooting!”

 

Tony waves and leaves, and Dr. Kayode nods at Clint. “I can step out if you’d like,” he offers, and Clint shrugs.

 

“I might hit you with some of the paint.”

 

“That’s fine. I could use a more colorful suit, too.”

 

Clint nods, picking up the bow and notching the first arrow. He looks around the room, evaluating his targets, then takes a deep breath. As he breathes out, he fires the first arrow, and quickly reloads.

 

He uses a variety of techniques; he shoots over his shoulder, fires three arrows at once, changes positions, leaps onto the various perches in the room, and even goes as far as doing flips and other fancy trick shots.

 

When the quiver runs out, he jumps for the perch he’d left the paintball gun on, snagging it and shooting one handed as he swings himself up to sit on the perch, shooting a smiley face onto one of the pieces of scrap metal, then hooks his feet on a rung so he can let his body swing upside down, firing at the back of Tony’s armor. He uses the last paintball to shoot the wall behind the armor, splattering paint on the wall and the armor by proximity.

 

He swings back upright, unhooking his feet and jumping, spinning mid air to land in a crouch on the floor, slightly out of breath as he looks around at his work.

 

The metal pieces are thoroughly covered in paint, and Tony’s suit looks like it’s been dipped in tie dye colors. Across the room, Dr. Kayode is standing next to one of the metal pieces, his suit speckled with paint, and he smiles as Clint walks toward him.

 

“How do you feel?” Dr. Kayode, and Clint shrugs.

 

“Better? Still kind of tired and hollow. But this was cool. Some of these metal pieces actually look like they could be some kind of Jackson Pollock painting,” he says, looking around again, and Dr. Kayode waits until Clint makes eye contact before speaking again.

 

“Well, activities aren’t a cure for depression, but they are a good way to help your brain start to reset itself. I bet you could hang some of these up on your walls, some handmade art.”

 

Clint nods. “Yeah. Yeah, maybe. Thanks.”

 

“Sure. Well, we still have another hour and a half for our session. Anything in particular you want to do?”

 

“Can we just talk in here?”

 

Dr. Kayode nods. “Sure. What do you want to talk about?”

 

“Well, I was thinking about a new vest design for Lucky, but I don’t know if it would be rude to ask Tony for another one.”

 

Clint walks over and hooks his feet under another rung on the wall, flopping so he’s upside down. “Oh, JARVIS, can you let Lucky in?”

 

The door clicks, and Lucky pushes his way in, laying underneath where Clint is hanging off the wall.

 

Dr. Kayode sits down on the floor not far away, cross legged. “Well, I don’t think Tony will mind. I might not know him very well, but based on the what you’ve told me, he sounds like he enjoys making things for people.”

 

“Yeah, but he’s already made so many vests for all the dogs, even just for Lucky, don’t you think it’s kind of selfish, to want so many versions of the same thing? It’s not like everyone has this kind of thing available to them, isn’t that just sort of, I don’t know, asshole-ish of me?”

 

“No, I don’t think so. Making use of the things you have when you have them is perfectly normal. Do you think that people who have plenty of food are being ‘asshole-ish’ by eating it when there’s people in the world who don’t have food?”

 

“No. Even when Barney and I didn’t have enough food, I never hated people who had food. I was happy for them. I just wish I could have had it too.”

 

“Exactly. So why is it wrong for you to enjoy what you have?”

 

The rest of the session goes well. Clint still doesn’t get out of his depressive episode until three days later, but every little thing helps. And if Clint spots Tony visiting a children’s hospital in his splatter-painted armor a few weeks later, well, that’s just an added bonus.

 


 

Dogs mess up too. They’re as much living, breathing animals as humans are, and even service dogs are going to have off days, days where they just aren’t feeling or doing as good as they normal would.

 

Clint knows this, but it still doesn’t make it any easier to have to leave the Deaf meetup he was currently at when Lucky started wandering around under the table, pulling at the leash to search for scraps on the ground.

 

It’s not because Lucky hasn’t eaten; Clint had fed him before they left the tower. But, like any other dog, Lucky has days where he’s just not as focused as he should be, gets distracted and doesn’t focus on his job. Today is one of those days.

 

Clint waits for a pause in the conversation he’s having. “Sorry, I need to check on Lucky, he’s pulling on the leash,” he signs, then looks down, gently tugs on the leash to get Lucky’s attention. “Stop,” he signs, but Lucky immediately turns back to what he was doing.

 

Clint sighs, turning back to Louisa. “Sorry, we need to leave. Lucky’s misbehaving,” he explains, and Louisa nods, signs back “oh-i-see,” the signing equivalent of “ohhhh.”

 

“That’s okay, have a good rest of your night! I’ll see you next time?” Louisa signs, and Clint shrugs.

 

“I’ll try, doesn’t always work out though. It was nice to meet you.”

 

“Nice to meet you.”

 

Clint taps the shoulder of the meetup organizer, Donna, waiting for her conversation to pause and Donna to make eye contact. “I’m headed out, Lucky is having a bad night. It was nice see you again,” Clint signs, and Donna nods.

 

“We love having you around, Clint. Even if you are a bit annoying.”

 

Clint grins. “Thanks! I’ll see you all later.”

 

He waves, and half of the people at the meetup sign their goodbyes, and then Clint’s leaving, headed back to the tower with Lucky at his side.

 


 

Task: hearing alert, name being called

 

Clint has his hearing aids in, but they’re in a crowded mall, and it’s hard to hear in general, let alone with hearing loss, so he’s grateful when Lucky paws at his leg, then turns and does a pointer stance to the right. Clint looks up and sees Natasha and Lapushka across the hall. He pets Lucky’s head, walking over to join Natasha. “Hey. Where are we going?” he asks, and Natasha points to the little place two stores down. Clint nods, following Natasha that way.

 

Task: clearing a room

 

A long mission yesterday morning had left Clint on edge, so when he has to go in for a meeting at SHIELD headquarters, he has Lucky clear each room before he enters. “Search,” he both says and signs, and Lucky steps forward into the meeting room, looking side to side, then coming back and nudging Clint’s hand. Clint gives him a treat, steps into the room, and takes his seat at the table with Lucky curled up at his feet.

 

Task: grounding during dissociation

 

Clint’s depersonalization/derealization means he tends to dissociate a good amount, so it’s not entirely weird to find himself in a place he doesn’t remember having gone to at a time of day he doesn’t remember it being last time he checked. So he’s not entirely shocked to be sitting on the floor of the communal dining room, Lucky in his lap licking his face.

 

He reaches up, scratching the bridge of Lucky’s nose gently. “Thanks, I’m here,” he says and signs, tapping Lucky’s side gently to get the dog off of him as he checks his phone. Only about 25 minutes since the time he last remembers it being. Not bad.

 

Task: blocking

 

Clint’s hyperventilating, shaking and scared. He wants to stop, but he just can’t. He’s in the corner of the little store he’d entered, curled up on the floor, and people are staring, but Clint can’t stop panicking.

 

He was triggered so quickly that Lucky didn’t even have time to alert him. He’d heard a woman’s whispered “Harold, please,” and had immediately been six years old again, on the floor with his eye throbbing from where his dad had hit him.

 

A few people try to approach, and Clint flinches every time, but Lucky stands between him and everyone coming near him, refusing to move even when a few of the people try to push Lucky out of the way. When Lucky shows no sign of letting the people come closer, and Clint doesn’t answer their questions of “hey, are you okay?” the people leave, and Lucky just stays between Clint and the rest of the room, giving him time to breathe.

 

It takes ten minutes for Clint to get his breathing back under control, and he stands, grabbing Lucky’s leash and heading back to the tower, because there’s no way he’s going to accomplish anything right now, and he needs a break.

 

Task: summoning help

 

Clint locks himself in the closet. He’s on the shelf at the top of the closet, bow in hand and quiver of arrows on his back, one arrow already notched. He knows he’s being irrational. He knows that. But he’s scared, and all that matters right now is being safe, quiet, out of the way, where no one can hurt him.

 

Lucky is locked outside of the closet, and Clint can see the dog’s shadow under the door, can see the way the door moves a little when Lucky paws at it. The shadow moves away, and Clint counts out a full four minutes of complete silence in his head when a projection appears near the top of the door, and Clint immediately raises and aims his bow at it.

 

On the screen, Tony raises his hands in surrender, and Clint lowers his bow. “Don’t shoot, I come in peace,” Tony signs, and then he pats his legs(?) and Lucky appears on the screen. “He said you needed help. What’s going on?”

 

“Not safe. I’m not safe,” Clint signs shakily. “It’s not safe.”

 

“Hey, I can’t see you very clearly, it’s dark where you are. Can you have JARVIS turn the lights on a little?”

 

Clint nods, and the lights immediately come up, just enough to illuminate Clint’s face and hands.

 

“Scared. I’m scared. Not safe,” Clint signs again, and Tony nods.

 

“Okay. Why aren’t you safe?”

 

“Him,” Clint signs. “Alive?”

 

“No,” Tony signs back, “Your dad isn’t coming back. Neither is Barney. Swordsman isn’t coming back either.”

 

Clint’s hand twitches towards his bow at the sign names he’d given Barney and Swordsman, but he nods jerkily. “Okay. Can stay here?”

 

He knows he sounds like a child. He knows even his signs are coming across as childish. But he can’t shake the feeling of being a kid again.

 

Tony nods. “Yeah. I’ll have JARVIS keep everyone clear of where you are.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Anytime.”

 

Task: deep pressure therapy (DPT)

 

Clint knows that he has to be here, he has to be at this particular benefit because the organization had specifically requested all of the Avengers, but that doesn’t make it any easier to handle an entire room of drunk strangers.

 

Logically, Clint knows that he’s safe. Hell, he goes to these kinds of events pretty often, and even spends a lot of time drinking in the tower himself, sitting around with the other heroes, but it can still put him on edge, and tonight is one of those nights.

 

He sits down at a table in the corner, Lucky at his side, and he doesn’t even have to say anything for Lucky to put his paws up on Clint’s lap, draping himself across Clint’s legs so his weight is a constant, comforting pressure.

 

“Thanks,” Clint mutters to the dog, scratching Lucky’s side under his vest, and he sits there and breathes for a few minutes, letting Lucky help calm him down. When he stands back up again, he’s feeling at least well enough to interact for a while, and he wanders the room making small talk until the rest of the team is ready to go home, piling into the limo with Tony driving them home.

 

Task: hearing alert, alarm going off

 

Clint usually hears when alarms go off, but it doesn’t always happen. If Clint’s in the tower and an alarm goes off, whether it’s a fire alarm or the alarm to assemble, JARVIS will flash the lights in the room Clint is in. However, if Clint has his eyes closed, is asleep, or is out of the tower somewhere, Lucky immediately alerts to the alarm.

 

That’s exactly what happens when the alarm to assemble goes off while Clint is sleeping on the couch on his personal floor, arm hanging off the side of the couch with his hand resting on Lucky’s side. Lucky jumps up to the alarm, pawing at Clint’s knee, who wakes with a start, looking around to see the room’s lights flashing green.

 

Tony and Clint had come up with colors together; purple for any alarm Clint sets for himself, green for the call to assemble, red for emergencies (fire, earthquake, or anything else). With the green lights flashing, Clint gives Lucky a quick belly rub, then hops off the couch to get suited up for battle.

 

Task: nightmare/night terror intervention

 

Clint’s body moves of its own volition. He looks over at the mirror beside him, and he can see the unnaturally blue eyes staring back at him. That’s not him, but there’s nothing he can do about it. His brain and body are responding to Loki’s commands whether he wants them to or not.

 

He walks to a better vantage point, crouches and notches an arrow, pulling the bow taught and ready to fire. The target comes into view. It’s Natasha, and she clearly knows she’s being set up, but she’s here to help Clint.

 

Just as Clint goes to shoot (he never misses, but he wishes he could right now), someone tackles him from behind, dropping him on his back on the roof. Barney is crouched over him, glaring down at him.

 

“No one will believe you, so don’t even bother.” Trick Shot leans over him, aiming his own bow and arrow at Clint, and Clint closes his eyes, ready to die, this isn’t the worst way to go out, necessarily, but he’s going to miss Natasha--

 

Clint wakes with a start, Lucky laying on his chest and licking his face. He reaches up, wrapping his arms around Lucky, who stills, dropping his head down to rest on Clint’s shoulder. Clint holds onto the dog for a moment, taking deep breaths. “Good boy,” he tells Lucky, and Lucky’s tail thwaps against the covers.

 

Clint lets go, and Lucky hops back off the bed, heading over to his own dog bed, and Clint drifts back off to sleep.

 

Task: “who’s there?”

 

Clint keeps hearing Loki’s voice in his dreams, remnants left behind from the mind control, and it bleeds into his day while he’s awake, too. He’s made his peace with Loki himself; after hearing what had happened, the reason for Loki’s invasion, he can’t argue that Loki wasn’t coerced into doing what he did, but subconsciously he’s still afraid.

 

So when Clint hears Loki laugh behind him, he flinches. “Who?” he signs at Lucky, and Lucky perks up, looking around, but quickly settles again. Clint relaxes. Loki’s not in the room, not even a projection of him, so that’s a start. Clint’s just not in the mood to be around him today.

 

Task: hearing alert, sounds of distress

 

Clint doesn’t get to go to Deaf meetups as often as he’d like; being a superhero has its drawbacks, and a busy schedule is often one of them. He does enjoy going though, so he takes every opportunity he has to spend time around the Deaf community.

 

They have Deaf meetups at least twice a month at the local mall’s food court, and Clint takes Lucky with him, signs with the other members of the Deaf community as well as some of the nervous hearing ASL students.

 

On the evening of one Deaf meetup, Clint is walking down the street with Lucky when Lucky stops, pawing at Clint’s knee and staring pointedly down a nearby alley. Confused, Clint walks with Lucky down the alley, and finds a man being held against the wall by three women, one of the women reaching under his clothes while the other two hold him as still as possible.

 

Even without his hearing aids in, Clint can see the man’s mouth moving, calling for help, and he walks towards the group, irritated that no one else has thought to even stop and help. “Hey!” he yells, and it must be loud enough, because all three women turn towards him, the woman that appears to be the leader saying something that Clint can’t make out.

 

“Sorry, you’re going to have to repeat that, I don’t speak rapist. Also I’m Deaf.”

 

The woman glares at him, then makes a dismissive hand gesture, turning back to the guy they were assaulting, who is frozen against the wall, looking torn between running and simply cowering in fear. Clint knows that look. He used to look like that a lot.

 

“Hey, Deaf etiquette 101, don’t turn your back on us,” Clint says, dropping Lucky’s leash and signing a quick “stay” before walking up to the women. One of them jabs him in the nose, and another kicks him directly in the diaphragm, and Clint stumbles back, eyes watering and wheezing to try and get in air.

 

Okay, so they know how to fight. Then Clint doesn’t have to worry about holding back. Good. He looks up, rubbing at his eyes and trying to blink away the blurriness. All three women are focused back on their victim, clearly considering Clint incapacitated. Clint loves proving people wrong.

 

He lunges forward, grabs the closest woman, and pulls her away from the group, pushing hard enough to knock her down so he can address the other two while she stands back up. The other two women have turned back to face him, and now that he’s paying attention, he sees the shift in balance as one of them swings at him.

 

He ducks, kicking out and swiping her legs from under her, standing and dodging just out of range of the third woman’s kick. He follows some of what Bucky’s taught him about street fighting; Bucky might be from the early 1900s, but he’s got good fighting tactics, especially when you’re the larger fighter. That usually doesn’t apply to Clint, not in their line of work, but in this case, it helps.

 

Clint goes for endurance over skill; by taking some of the hits, he can stay closer and hit harder. It takes him about eight minutes to incapacitate all three women; without his hearing aids, he’s got a slight disadvantage, and three against one isn’t great odds anyway, even if you are a superhero.

 

Still, he succeeds, and when all three women are unconscious, he turns back to find the man they were assaulting still standing against the wall, wide eyed.

 

“You okay?” Clint asks, and the guy nods.

 

“Yeah. Thanks,” he says. He says something else, but since Clint doesn’t know the guy and he doesn’t know what to expect, lip reading doesn’t help him whatsoever.

 

“Sorry, can you type that? I really am Deaf,” Clint says, and the guy nods, pulls out his phone and types in a notes app.

 

“Thanks for that. I didn’t think anyone would help,” the note reads, and Clint shrugs.

 

“People are assholes. Clint, by the way.”

 

“Alejandro,” the man types out, and Clint shakes his hand.

 

“Hey, so, are you good? You might want to call the police, but other than that, is there anything I can help with?”

 

Alejandro shakes his head. “No, I’m good. Thank you again,” he types, and Clint nods.

 

“Anytime. Stay safe.” He heads back to the entrance to the alley, where Lucky is waiting patiently for him, holding his own leash in his mouth.

 

“Good boy,” Clint signs, taking the leash, and they continue on their way to the Deaf meetup. A few people there ask about Clint’s bloody knuckles, but they just shake their heads and tell him to be more careful when he tells them the story.

 

Task: anxiety alerts

 

Clint doesn’t realize how anxious he’s getting until Lucky nudges his knee, placing his head in Clint’s lap. Clint looks down, frowning as he realizes that he’s bouncing his leg without realizing it. He stops, taking a deep breath and trying to think back to when he started getting anxious in the first place.

 

It takes a minute to realize that it had started a few hours ago when he’d been practicing in the range earlier and one of his shots had strayed about half an inch off of his intended target. It wasn’t a huge problem, it would still be counted as a hit and not a miss, but it left Clint feeling vaguely unsettled.

 

Then he’d realized that one of his hearing aids had died, and replacing the battery hadn’t fixed the problem, so he’d had to drop off his hearing aids with Tony to fix them, because where one breaks the other is likely to follow, and then he’d just been a little on edge, even if he knew that Lucky had his back.

 

Huh. Clint really had missed all of those signs. Even spies mess up. He patted his lap, and Lucky hopped up on the couch with him, curling up on Clint’s legs, and Clint relaxed again, focusing on just the feel of Lucky’s chest rising and falling against his legs instead of anything else.

 

Task: “got my six?”

 

Clint’s used to constantly feeling a little on edge, it comes with the territory of being a known hero (though, realistically, Clint was rarely recognized, but it’s not like Clint could convince his PTSD of that ). But when he’s stuck doing press statements, as much as he trusts the organizers to keep him safe, he also likes having some kind of reassurance of that.

 

So before he has to speak, he turns to Lucky. “Got my six?” he signs, and the dog walks around to sit behind him, Lucky’s back pressed against the back of Clint’s legs. As Clint speaks, his gaze scans side to side across the crowd, checking for threats, and he can feel Lucky moving minutely behind him, head also moving side to side.

 

Even though all Lucky’s doing is moving his head, and he has no training to protect Clint (and has, in fact, been taught to be completely non-reactive), Clint still feels safer having Lucky looking behind them. It helps, and if it helps, Clint’s not going to argue it.

 

Task: hearing alert, phone ringing

 

Clint mostly uses his phone for texting and different apps, but he leaves his phone open to actual calls as well. He uses actual calls for when one of the other heroes is in trouble and needs help quickly, and either can’t text or needs an immediate reply. Usually, they’ll call Clint to get his attention, and once he answers, they switch to text.

 

Clint’s taking a nap on the communal floor couch when Lucky wakes him up by pawing at his leg, pointing over at the coffee table, where Clint’s phone is vibrating and flashing. Cling picks it up, a phone call from Matt. He answers the call. “Hello?” he says groggily, and Matt hangs up, so Clint waits for the text, which comes in seconds later.

 

Dumpster Pal (and a Snack™): Locked in a warehouse, 10th and West 50th. Help?

 

Clint sighs, pulling his shoes out from under the couch and sliding them on.

 

Clint: Sure. Be there in 15.

 

Dumpster Pal (and a Snack™): You’re the best.