"Where are we going?" I asked him after we had walked for a good few minutes
"To Agent Romanoff" he replied and I resisted the urge to kick him in the shins.
"I know, but why does she need me?" he said nothing and I threw my hands up in the air in exasperation but he didn't even notice. Finally he came to a stop outside a room I'd never been in before.
"Through there" he said pointing at the door. As he left another agent took his place in front of the room, he had a radio in his top pocket and seemed to be listening to it via the com in his ear. He didn't even acknowledge I was there until I stepped in front of him and crossed my arms. He just moved aside to let me in and kept silent. Now I was worried.
I deliberated whether to go in or not. If I didn't I would be disobeying a direct order, but if I did what trouble was I going to walk into? I liked to think I knew Nat well enough to know she would never do anything to hurt me. I stretched out a shaking hand and pulled the door open.
"Nat?" I said nervously as it swung open
"In here." she called
The room was small and cosy. A few comfy chairs were scattered about and a desk had been pushed up against the far wall to make space for us. It looked like some kind of plush office, what use we had it for here I had no idea. Nat and Clint stood in the middle of the room next to each other. I was shocked to see them in their normal clothes.
"Hey, Blake" said Clint waving me in. I lingered on the doorstep before looking at Nat for reassurance. She gave me a small nod and I closed the door behind me.
I waited for her to say something but it was Clint who spoke first "So how are you feeling?" He asked in a kind voice that didn't fit the situation. I felt even more nervous now because nothing bad seemed to be happening. I'd expected to be reprimanded right away, perhaps stripped of my agent status and sent home for messing up this morning.
"Err fine, I think." I said slightly confused
"I hope you don't mind, but I told Nat what happened in the woods today." he said looking sheepish. I did mind but I didn't say anything.
"Sure" I replied feeling uncomfortable "Can I ask what this is about?" Nat walked over to the desk and perched on its edge looking back at me.
"Look kiddo, things have been pretty tense with you lately. It needs addressing because it doesn't just effect you it effects your work as well." she said with a same smile at the end. I had the feeling she was trying to sugar coat something bigger but she didn't elaborate.
"I know I messed up this morning in training, it won't happen again I promise." I said feeling like a little kid fessing up to breaking something valuable "I just made a mistake." They both looked at each other and then back at me.
"You didn't mess up in training, that's the thing." said Clint
"But both me a Pietro got hit in the simulation." I said feeling utterly lost
"Yeah you did, on the arm and on the leg. Wounds like that it in the field would slow you down but they wouldn't kill you. At your level in training you are doing as well as anyone could be expect. Steve told me how great you did in the sim, and I know firsthand how you're doing in the power department." said Nat waving a hand in my direction.
"Then I don't understand why-"
"Blake" she said taking a deep breath "We think you might be suffering from PTSD."
"What? No I'm fine." I said surprised
"C'mon' kid it's OK, we just wanna help." said Clint stepping towards me
"I know but I'm fine, really." I said again more forcefully taking a step back. Nat jumped down from the desk and walked over to us.
"You were definitely stressed out this morning." said Clint
"I told you it was just my last mission, the stuff in Sokovia it freaked me out a bit that's all. I'm over it now so can we just drop it." I said in an agitated tone. I could tell he didn't believe me, how could he when I didn't even believe myself.
"OK let's take a breath" said Nat leading me to a chair and crouching down in front of me. I sat down and looked at her. She didn't believe me for a second and there was no way I was getting out of this that easily so I decided to tell her everything.
"Nat, I keep having nightmares." I said trying to stop my mind bringing up the images I didn't want to see "I can't make them stop. Every detail is so vivid, like I'm still there. I can smell the smoke when I wake up, feel the air getting thinner. It's not normal, I don't know what's wrong with me." I neglected to mention seeing Pietro's dead body over and over, I couldn't talk about that, not here.
"Hey" she said squeezing my hand "There is nothing wrong with you at all. It happens to the best of us but-" A look came over her face then like she was remembering something very important. "Wait, there really isn't anything wrong with you. Clint can you grab me the phone." he passed it to her and she dialled a number and waited for it to ring. I looked up at Clint eyebrows raised.
"No idea" he mouthed at me shrugging his shoulders. The person at the other end must have picked up because Nat began talking.
"Yeah an enhanced, no it's Deveraux. You got time to come down? We're in the Rec room off level 3. You got it." she finished and hung up.
"What's going on?" I asked feeling fear creep into my mind, had she called someone to take me away?
"I just called a friend upstairs. She specialises in enhanced, like you. She's on her way here to see you."
"But..I know what my abilities are. Why is she coming here?"
"It's just a hunch but I think you might have more than one ability."
"That's impossible Nat" said Clint shaking his head "She's been here months and we've trained her almost every day, I think I'd have noticed."
"I think I would have noticed." I said incredulously
"Maybe" said Nat looking at me "But I think it's not like your projection ability, its mental."
"Thanks." I said annoyed
"No I meant it's something you do with your mind, not your body. I've seen people like that before." There came a knock at the door and it opened to let in a tall blonde woman wearing a lab coat. I almost jumped up and ran for it. No way I was about to get experimented on but Clint relaxed a little when he saw her.
"Jenna." he said nodding to her. So I was clearly the only person in the room who didn't know her. "This is Blake, she's one of mine and Nat's recruits working on the enhanced unit."
"Hi" I said meekly waving from my chair
"Hello" she said in a thick accent "So Natasha, you think she's dual powered?"
"I'm not sure, she's exhibiting signs of enhanced recollection." I looked at her in shock, that's what this was based on.
"They're just dreams Nat."
"I don't think they are just that sweetie, can you tell Sarah what's been going on?"
"Well about what happened...back in Sokovia" she said looking apologetic "And since you got back." I gave her a pleading look but it didn't work, I didn't want to have to relive it all again. But I took a deep breath and started to tell Jenna about my last mission, my dreams and about my powers being out of control. The more I said the more interested she got, she seemed to be studying me with her eyes. Maybe she was looking for indicators of madness. I finished talking with a dry mouth and Nat smiled at me encouragingly.
"So, what's the verdict doc?" she asked Jenna
"I'd have to do some further tests but I'm sure she has the ability."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" I asked with a frown
"Generally people with the power of recollection find it very useful, think of it as having a photographic memory for all of your senses." I didn't think that sounded very useful "In your case however it sounds like your ability may be adding to your trauma. I'm afraid there is not much we can do to lessen the affects. I can't tell why yours is so strong though, did your parents have this gift?"
"No, neither of them have powers." I said wishing I was my Mom right now
"Hmm" was all Jenna would say
"Projection" blurted out Clint loudly making me jump "Her other ability" Jenna looked confused "She's able to enhance her movements, make a punch throw further, hit harder, without even touching the object being targeted. Could that be ramping up this new ability?"
"It's possible, that would make the recollection rather unsafe though."
"Unsafe? How?" I asked wondering how much worse it could get
"All I'll say is don't dwell on the past too much, you might not be able to snap back from it." she said in a worried tone.
We all looked up at that moment upon hearing a commotion outside the door. It sounded like someone was arguing with the agent standing guard.
"Go see what that is." said Nat nudging Clint. He squeezed past Jenna and opened the door. The guard was shouting at a guy with silver blond hair.
"You can't go in, Romanoff's orders. If she says you can go in then fine but I'm not opening that door until she comes out."
"Just tell me if she's in there." said Pietro looking a little panicked
"I just did."
"Not Romanoff. Blake Deveraux. She's about this high" he said holding his hand next to his shoulder "Cute, dark hair." he stopped as he spotted Clint and looked relived. "Barton, have you seen Blake?"
I shifted in my chair so he could see me around Clint. He caught sight of me and made to move past the guard again.
"What did I just say?" he said grabbing Pietro's arm. I caught my breath. Bad move. Pietro's eyes went very dark and he turned to the guard looking pissed. I'd seen him look like that once when someone had threatened Wanda and didn't envy anyone on the receiving end of it.
"Get your hand off me or I'll spin you so fast your head will come off."
"Maximoff!" said Jenna astonished. I would have laughed but I knew he was being deadly serious.
I looked at Natasha whose eyebrows were raised, silently hoping she wouldn't make Pietro leave. "Let me him" she said to the guard.
"But Agent Romanoff-"
"That's an order." she said firmly
"Yes ma'am." he said and grudgingly moved aside to let Pietro in. He pushed past him and moved to my side. He didn't touch me though because I knew he was aware of how many people there were in the room.
"You alright?" he asked looking from me to the other three
"Super" I said and Nat laughed. Pietro seemed to sense the mood in the room and relaxed a little.
"I-Wanda got worried. You were gone too long."
"We wanted to see how she was doing, that's all" said Clint and Pietro raised an eyebrow.
"For half an hour?" he said crossing his arms and leaning against the wall.
"I'll tell him later anyway you might as well tell him now." I said and Nat grinned at me.
"Blake's got another ability we didn't know about." That caught him off guard.
"It's nothing important, apparently I'm just awesome at remembering things. Guess I don't have an excuse to miss someone's birthday now." I said to him reassuringly as he put his hand on my shoulder.
"I wouldn't joke about this Blake." said Jenna "Like I said if you don't pull out of one of your dreams or visions before you get too deep you won't be able to get out." That shut me up. I imagined being stuck reliving Sokovia over again and dug my nails into the arms of the chair.
"Got it." I said in a hard voice.
"What can she do to make it easier?" asked Clint closing the door finally.
"Not much I'm afraid. I would suggest finding out what the trigger is. Find that, push it away and it should stop."
My trigger? Oh god. I looked up at Pietro and my heart sank.