Neal disabled the rooftop door alarms and silently ghosted over the pitch because a certain museum was just out of his radius. He won’t steal from it tonight or tomorrow night or even next month, but when the opportunity occurred, Neal knew that he would be here making his way onto the museum roof and the weak point in their security. Now, he was checking for cameras and to judge distances.
He isn’t expecting the roof to be already occupied. The man saw him coming and had an arrow aimed at Neal’s eye. Neal threw up his hands in surrender. “Sorry! Didn’t mean to startle anyone!”
The man, in black combat pants and a purple t-shirt, shrugged but relaxed his draw on his bow. The once-over he gave Neal was evaluating hidden weapons and not his considerable assets. The stranger decided that Neal wasn’t carrying anything deadly and chose to ignore him.
Neal had been dismissed, but he moved closer rather than leave. Neal was as much of a cat as Peter claimed; he was never ignored. Plus, he was pretty damn sure that this was one of the infamous Avengers that saved New York City from the aliens last month. “My name’s Neal,” he told Hawkeye with a smile.
The Avenger didn’t twitch.
Neal started talking, mostly lies and fabrications but Hawkeye didn’t respond. Then Neal tried the truth, “I’m a thief and this is the edge of my electronic leash.”
Hawkeye unerringly looked at Neal’s right ankle, so the thief showed off his jewelry courtesy of the US Marshals. The man still didn’t talk, but Neal didn’t mind, he had gotten a response. He rambled for an hour, explaining Peter and the FBI and the rules of his parole.
He had just taken a breath to take some more when Hawkeye’s soft voice said, “You’re having fun in your limits.”
Neal stared wistfully at the roof of the museum and admitted, “Yeah. Probably the best -and worst- thing that’s ever happened to me. I have opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise.”
Hawkeye rewarded truthfulness with truthfulness. “This is the edge of my electronic leash. ”
Neal looked the man up and down; Hawkeye’s tracker was invisible. “Where?”
Hawkeye pointed to the back of his neck and Neal didn’t –couldn’t- suppress the shiver.
“Why? You’re a hero.”
Hawkeye laughed at him, hollow and a bit broken, turned and walked away.