Summary: A strange weapon in Miami leads Horatio to call on an old friend who happens to be an expert in the bow. What's even stranger is no one but Frank Tripp seems to know who the expert is. Don't own, don't claim, no money made.
1) A rough crack!fic to get me back into writing one-shots. This is choppy, no research done, and really rather weird.
2) I've seen the Avengers movie. Don't know anything about Marvelverse. I'm playing with Barton's backstory a little, so kinda AU-ish.
Horatio walked into the crime scene and paused. Arrows. He sighed and leaned closer, looking at the fletching on them. The feathers were wrong and he let out a breath he hadn't even been aware he was holding. "Frank?"
"No one saw anything, Horatio," Frank replied. "Said the arrows just came out of nowhere and these three dropped dead."
"Keep the team back, please," Horatio said pulling out his phone. "I believe we need an expert opinion on this."
"It's not him, Frank," Horatio said. "He doesn't use that type of feather. Hey, it's me. Are you in Miami? You are? Can you come join me at a crime scene, please? We have three people killed with arrows just outside the courthouse. Expert opinion only, I know these aren't yours. Not unless you've started using dyed synthetics for feathers." He pulled the phone back at the loud shout. "I didn't think so. As quickly as you can, please, I can only hold my team back for so long."
Frank sighed. "What's he doing in Miami?"
"We probably don't want to know, Frank, but if he can tell us, he will," Horatio said. He tucked his phone away. "Tell the team we're waiting for an expert and to help with crowd control. They can search along the tape, but I don't want anyone near the bodies."
"Hey H, we got nothing," Eric said, joining his boss by the bodies.
"You're supposed to be back with the others, Eric."
"It's not like you to keep everyone out like this, H," Eric said. "They wanted me to make sure you were okay."
Horatio didn't flinch when a man landed next to him. "I'm fine, Eric. Go get the crime scene log for me, please, and tell the officers they need to keep a better watch on the tops of the buildings. Clint, it's good to see you."
"Good to see you too, Pop," Clint Barton said with a grin. "Whatcha got for me?"
"These three men were killed with arrows, and you can see why I immediately thought of you," Horatio said, leading him over towards the bodies.
Barton crouched down and looked at the bodies. Two men and a woman, four arrows total. He snorted. "You've got someone who isn't exactly sniper grade here, Pop," he said, ignoring Eric as the younger man joined them. "Look at the angles of entry for these two here. The gal had to have been running, that's why she has two arrows in her. Someone wanted a weapon that wouldn't be as easy to trace back as a gun, and thought they knew what they were getting into." He took the crime scene log and signed his name. "Still, you're only looking for a single shooter, maybe six months practice using the bow and it's a hunting bow. Something where he doesn't have a heavy draw. Look at the penetration depth too. Amateur."
"Can you tell me where they were shot from?" Horatio asked with a small smile.
"Couple of options," Barton replied. He spun in a slow circle. "Send your people to check there and there. They're looking for the remains of a nest. That's assuming the shooter knew enough about what they were doing. Wait, there."
Horatio turned and looked at the building Barton was pointing at. "What do you see?" he asked, shading his eyes.
"That's your building. There's a jacket or something made of cloth folded up on the edge of the roof. Check there first, then the other building."
"Horatio," Eric said.
"I don't see anything, and who is this, anyway?"
"This is Clint Barton, Eric; he's my expert on bows and arrows, and if he says there's something up there, then there is," Horatio said. "Clint, why don't we go check for the nest and my team can get to work down here?"
Barton grinned. "Sounds good," he said. "Eric, keep everyone clear of that group of trees, would you?"
"If I need to test for wind impact on an arrow, I'll shoot into there," Barton said. "I never miss, but I can't stop the arrow once it's in flight. Keep your people clear just to be safe."
"Do it, Eric," Horatio said. "Clint?"
"Lead the way, Pop," Barton grinned.
"Now that's crap," Barton said. He shook his head at the bow that was resting against the base of the ledge and waited for Horatio to take pictures of everything. "God, if you're going to shoot someone with a bow and arrow, at least have enough pride to get good quality equipment."
"Not everyone has your resources," Horatio pointed out. "Let me take a look and then you can come over, okay? How have you been, Clint? I saw parts of the battle on the news, but never caught sight of you."
"I've been good," Barton said. He perched on the ledge and looked towards the crime scene. "I almost lost Phil, but he's a fighter and they say he's going to be up and around within a year or so. He took a lot of damage. Otherwise, I'm doing missions and joining the others when they need me for something. Before you ask, I'm here on a hit, but it's international and top secret and all the usual crap they put on those things. You won't even find the body."
Horatio nodded. "I don't see anything that can lead us to our shooter, so you can come on over," he said. "Tell me what you think."
Barton joined Horatio at the ledge by the bow, but still perched up off the ground. "It's not where I would have shot from," he said, looking around. "Too many trees in the way. Sit here next to me, see what I mean? It's possible the victims managed to move a little after they were shot, but the second male is almost completely blocked from here. I would've used the other building."
"The second male looked like he was shot through the heart, Clint. I don't think he managed to walk too much farther before he fell," Horatio said. "What can you tell me about the bow?"
"Teenage hunting bow, retail about two fifty," Barton said, looking down at it without touching it. "Low draw weight, relies on the pulley system far too much. Made for someone just starting out. Cheap and looks it."
Horatio grinned. "You never shot anything like this?" he asked.
"Nope, my training gear was old, but it was well-made and cared for," Barton replied. "There's a breeze up here, Horatio. I don't know how much it'll impact arrows heading down there. Mind if I find out?"
"Let me warn the team first," Horatio said.
Barton grinned and set the small case he'd been carrying with him down. "God, I hate to sully my bow with anything so cheap, but do you want me to fire one of the arrows he left behind?" He pulled on his wrist guard and shooting glove.
"How much difference will there be between some of yours and these?" Horatio asked.
"Mine have better weight and balance to them, but I can make magic with those, so it really doesn't make much difference," Barton said. He opened the case, picked up his bow and snapped it, bringing it to it's full size. "I made sure to leave all the special arrows at the safe house."
"They're clear," Horatio reported. He pulled on a pair of gloves and picked up the bow and remaining arrows the suspect had left behind. "In your own time, Clint."
Barton stood up on the ledge and sighted down one of his arrows. "This is too narrow for anyone to stand on and get a good shot off," he said. "You'd be off-balance if you tried it and risk falling off." He hopped backwards to the ground next to Horatio. "This is better, but the bottom of the ledge would graze the lower pulley matrix on that bow. Please tell me the idiot didn't try to shoot sideways."
"We'll ask him," Horatio smiled. "I won't insult you and ask if you can make the shot."
"Thank you," Barton said. He slipped into sniper mode, stilling everything but his breathing and mental calculations. The arrow hissed as it released and he had another one on the string before Horatio could blink. Three more arrows followed before Barton lowered his bow. "There's enough wind that it would make shooting hard, but not impossible. Given a certain level of practice, I think the shooter could have compensated for it without too much trouble."
"Is there any chance one of the victims was an accident or a trial run?" Horatio asked.
"Without knowing the details behind this, it's hard to say," Barton replied. He collapsed his bow and put it away, but left his other gear on. "Do you need me to come to the lab with you?"
"If you would," Horatio said. "Calleigh knows everything there is to know about weapons, but this is your specialty and I'd like to have your input on this weapon as well."
Barton smiled. "What are you going to tell them when they ask about me?" he asked.
"Nothing," Horatio grinned. "There are things my team doesn't need to know."
"Not even that Eric kid?" Barton asked, following Horatio back towards the stairs.
"Oh, come on, Pop; he was almost in full mating display back there," Barton said. "He wants you and he's seeing me as a threat to that."
"He does?" Horatio said.
"You're hopeless," Barton sighed. "Come on, I need to collect my arrows and you've got kids to wrangle. I'll talk with whoever you want to help out with this, but I have to be free by 2000 tonight. I can be back tomorrow to help some more, but my window is pretty small on my hit."
Horatio nodded. "Whatever you can do to help," he said. "I certainly don't want to make Nick angry at me again."
"He's mellowing," Barton said. "Almost losing Coulson did something to him."
"That doesn't mean he isn't above trying to use me for target practice for messing up one of his operations," Horatio said. "Come back to the lab with me and I'll introduce you to Calleigh."
Ryan watched Eric watch Horatio leave with the strange man who had been shooting arrows into trees near the crime scene. "Delko, you okay?" he asked.
"Yeah, it's just weird," Eric said. "I've known H for years and I've never seen that guy before."
"Did you hear what he was calling Horatio?" Ryan asked.
"Yeah, and it doesn't make any sense," Eric replied. "Frank knows the guy, I can tell from the way he's acting, but no one else does. Who is he?"
"Why don't you just ask Frank?" Ryan sighed.
"He won't tell me anything, you know how he is about keeping secrets for Horatio," Eric said. "I'm sure we'll find out who he is when Horatio's ready to tell us."
Once the bow was tested for prints and DNA samples were sent to the lab, Calleigh handed Barton a pair of gloves and then the bow. "So, Horatio tells me that you know more about bows than I do," she said with a smile. "Want to test fire the arrows for me so we can see if they match up to the ones taken from the victims?"
Barton sighed. "This is a piece of crap," he said, checking it over. "Look at this, mended with super glue here, wire here, and is that duct tape?"
"It is," Calleigh said, looking a little closer at the lower part of the bow. "I'll take it off once you've done the test fire. Something tells me the bow isn't going to fire without it."
"You're probably right," Barton said. He nocked and arrow and tested the draw. "Oh for, I could fire this without even drawing it. I'm starting to wonder if you're looking for a man. Given the weight on this, I think you might be after a teen, or a woman who doesn't work out much."
"Don't you need to be looking at the target?" Calleigh asked as the first arrow released.
"Nope," Barton grinned. He fired the other three test arrows and put the bow down. "Ugh, I need a shower. I feel dirty using something like that."
Calleigh grinned. "Horatio said you have a bow of your own. Mind if I see it?"
"Nope." Barton dropped the gloves in the trash and opened his case. "I have others at home, but this is my work bow." He snapped it into place and grinned. "Want to try and draw her?"
"Sure." Calleigh took off her own gloves and reached out for the bow. "Wow, it's heavier than it looks. Are these controls?"
"They are, but they're top secret, so I can't explain," Barton said. "Be careful with your draw. You could cut yourself badly enough to draw blood if you release the string without an arm guard on."
"Wow." Calleigh let the string relax back and handed over the bow. "No wonder you're so buff. How can you hold that draw steady to shoot anything?"
"I'm that good," Barton said. He collapsed the bow and put it away. "So, I've got to go. I've got a meeting tonight, but I promised Horatio I'd be back tomorrow if you need me."
"Okay, thanks for your help," Calleigh said. "I'm sure Horatio will be in touch."
Three days later, Horatio met up with Barton down by the beach. "We found our shooter," Horatio said, leaning on the railing. "The first man and the woman were married and their son suffered a break from reality and thought that his father was cheating on his mother with the other man. We don't know why he shot all three of them, but he said he chose the bow because he'd seen Hawkeye using one and it looked cool."
"So now I'm a model for crime," Barton sighed. "Great, just what I needed to know. Still, Fury's working hard to keep me out of the light so I can still do spy work for SHIELD. This will probably just make him more determined to keep me buried."
"Want me to talk to him?" Horatio asked.
"No, that's fine. Fury and I get along good enough," Barton said. "I'll talk to him when I get back to New York and debrief for this assignment. Now, what about you, have you talked to Eric yet?"
"What did you tell them when they asked about me?" Barton asked.
"That you're an expert marksman who specializes in older weapons, including the bow, and you happened to be in town and available," Horatio said.
"So you're not telling them you took me in for five years when my brother and mentor tried to kill me," Barton said. "I still can't thank you enough for that, Pop. Without you, I don't know if I would have made it to SHIELD, and be able to do the good I am now."
"You made your own choices, Clint," Horatio said. "I'll always be here for you when you need me. You know that."
"I do," Barton said. He hugged Horatio tightly. "I'd promise to be better about visiting, but I never know when I'll get a break."
"Just be careful out there, Clint," Horatio said. "Promise me that much; be careful with yourself, okay?"
"Yeah, that I can do," Barton said.