"Explain to me again, how this happened." Fury said, pressing his fingers together near his chin.

Clint glanced at Murdock, hoping he would take the hint and start speaking lawyer-ese, but the man was blind after all, and he sure used it to his advantage when he could.

"Might I remind you Barton, that Mr Murdock is not actually an agent of SHIELD, nor is he an Avenger. He is still a civilian, despite his nighttime activities, and is only here because he insisted on it. Now talk," he growled.

Clint sighed. "Okay."


"So what do you think?" Clint asked, nudging the brochure towards Matt.

He smirked. "About what? I am actually blind you know."

"Aw crap," Clint muttered. "I keep forgetting. Can you read that or is it too shiny?"

Matt ran his fingers over the glossy paper. He shook his head.

"What is it?"

"We're going on vacation dude."

Matt raised an eyebrow behind his glasses. "Oh really? Did you think to consider that I was busy with work, and couldn't come?"

Clint waved a hand. "Nah, that's all taken care of. I talked to your buddy, and you've got a week off, starting the day after tomorrow, which is when we will be on a plane to Russia."

"Russia?" Matt repeated. "What is there in Russia?"

"Lots of stuff. It's giant. But there's one specific thing we're going to see." He opened the brochure and waved it at him.

"Four words. Moscow Museum of Modern Art."

"Technically, that's five."

"Shut up."

Matt grinned. "Alright then."


Fury glared at him with his one good eye, and Clint resisted the urge to shrink in his seat. He wondered if Matt could feel it with his super senses or something. The guy had to be able to stand up to scary things though, he was supposed to be fearless after all. And a lawyer.

Clint glared back at him defiantly.

"How is this relevant Agent Barton?" Fury demanded.

Clint liked how he still used the 'agent'. That was a good sign.

"Backstory," he declared. "I'm setting the scene. Just... hang in there for a few more minutes and we'll get to the part that you care about." He rolled his eyes. "Geez."


"I love the view," Clint declared, watching the clouds pass by through the window. He winced after a second. "Sorry."

Matt shook his head. "It's fine. I can... appreciate the change in scenery. Believe it or not, it's quieter up here. Everything is different when it's just a metal tube between you and the endless sky."

Clint raised an eyebrow. "Well, when you say it like that..."

Matt laughed. "You can fly, can't you?"

"Planes? Yeah. Not this one though. Smaller aircraft, military ones. This thing would be the equivalent of driving a double decker bus when you're used to driving a motorcycle. Zero manoeuvrability."

Matt nodded. "I thought of being a pilot. You know. Before. It was a short lived dream though."

Clint hummed. "Oh, and Matt? Quieter up here? I do believe I'm offended."

Matt chuckled. "Oh, go watch the in flight movie."

"Only if you tell me the dialogue."

"I did this at a movie once," he mused. "We got kicked out."

Clint snickered.


"That time was a date," Matt clarified, speaking for the first time of his own volition. "This... well I'm pretty sure it wasn't. Unless Clint wants to tell me something?" He raised an eyebrow and glanced in Clint's direction, which was unnerving, because the guy couldn't actually see him.

"I'll have you know I'm comfortable with my sexuality," he retorted. "And as attractive as you may be, this was not a date."

"It's the hair, isn't it?" Matt asked, beaming as he flattened his hair out with one hand.

"Gentlemen," Fury growled. "My patience wears thin."

Clint sighed.


The flight was long, and Clint was definitely bored by the end. He'd taken his hearing aids out in an attempt to sleep, but he was still on edge and jumpy the entire time. He didn't know how Matt did it, if he could, with his heightened senses and all.

He wondered if he could hear the pilot in the cockpit, and what that would be like.

Awful probably.

They crashed in a hotel to sleep off the jet lag, and by the time it was morning in Moscow, they were more than ready to hit the museum.

It was just a really bad day to go, since apparently, other people had also decided to hit the museum, in the more colloquial sense.


"Why did you think it was a good idea to take a blind man to an art museum?" Fury asked, rubbing his temples. "Not just an art museum, but one in a foreign country."

"Sir, that's offensive. The blind can appreciate art as well."

Fury only glared.

Clint crouched over closer to Matt."You should probably sue him," he whispered, before straightening up again. "Because, Fury, Director, Sir, this was a museum of modern art. The new age-y stuff that's like, weird sculptures made of spoons, and melted cell phones that are stuck together to express joy. All stuff that's great for touching."

Fury raised his eyebrow yet again. "Museums are not hands on activities. I highly doubt the artists would approve of a man having his hands all over their priceless works of art."

"Ah, but you see, that would be discrimination. You see, Matty here is a lawyer and knows all about that sort of thing. Also, we were really sneaky about it, so no one even noticed." He scoffed. "With their seriously lax security, I'm surprised no one tried to rob them blind earlier."

"Pun intended?" Matt asked.

Clint ran over his words and beamed. "Happy accident."

Fury cleared his throat. "The story?"


"Okay. This looks bad."

"Can you be a little more specific?" Matt muttered, sweeping a man's legs out from under him with an impressive spin.

"Um... This looks really bad?"

Matt sighed. "I know that much. But can you honestly tell me you didn't plan this?"

"Yes!" Clint exclaimed, piercing another man in the shoulder with a tranquilizer dart. He was taken down a second later by Matt, and the drug would keep him there. "I wanted an actual vacation man! I didn't want to come to Russia to fight... whatever the hell these guys are. Come on..." he muttered, feeling a nose break under his elbow as he attacked the guy who tried to sneak up behind him.

"I believe you," Matt told him, another three men at his feet.

Clint perked up. "Really?"

"Human lie detector, remember?"

"Oh, right," Clint grunted. "Woulda been nice if you were believing me based on my innocent and trustworthy nature."

Matt snorted.

"Or not, whatever," Clint muttered. The last of the men fell. "Are there any others around here?"

Matt concentrated. "Not for now. What's the plan?"

Clint shrugged. "I dunno. This wasn't supposed to be a mission."

He glanced around him. Somehow, they'd managed to get in the middle of a massive robbery of the museum.

What a day to be alive in Russia.

"Why did we do this again?" he sighed, folding his bow back up. The last thing he wanted to do was get caught with it in the middle of an art heist.

Matt's head snapped around to face something behind Clint, and he heard it then, the tell tale sound of a group of under trained and over trigger happy security guards arriving on scene.

Okay. This looks bad too.


Fury snorted. "Only you could go to Russia for the art and end up in the middle of a big fat mess."

"To be fair, I think my presence had some part to play in it," Matt offered. "I'm not exactly lucky," he added.

"Yeah," Clint cheered. "High five man." He held a hand up.

Matt raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, right."

Matt smirked. "I'm just messing with you." He slapped Clint's hand a bit more forcefully than necessary.


"English?" he asked loudly, signing the words at the same time.

Matt had replaced his glasses on his face and his stick had turned back into the trademark white cane of the blind.

Clint could see the security guards glance between the cane and the glasses, and back to Clint, at his signing hands and the hearing aids in his ears. Bright purple as they were, they weren't exactly subtle. Clint had never been more grateful for that. (And to think they were a gag gift from Nat.)

"English?" he repeated loudly, signing again. One of the guards twitched, his hand on his gun. Not cool.

"Whoa," he said loudly, throwing his hands up. "Don't shoot me. Or him. Dude, put your hands up, they've got guns."

Matt looked suitably appalled at the thought, and lifted his hands into the air.

"My friend here is blind, and I am deaf. We're Americans. Please don't shoot us," he begged, hoping he looked terrified enough. Matt certainly did for someone who wasn't supposed to feel fear.

"What's going on?" he asked, his voice shaking.

The head security guard nodded to his minions, who eased their hands off their guns, and tucked their tasers back into their belts.

"Come with us," he said gruffly, and Clint made sure to watch his lips carefully.

"Where are we going?" he asked, stumbling over the words slightly.

The man didn't say anything else, but made a gesture with his head.

"You can get your friend to help you," he told Matt gruffly, before turning his back and leading the way. The rest of the security guards waited for them to move, Matt placing his hand on Clint's shoulder, before closing a circle behind them.

Clint wondered what they were going to do with the hundreds of bodies the two of them had singlehandedly taken down, really it had to be a record or something, probably worthy of some sort of honour or award-


Fury raised an eyebrow up to his nonexistent hairline. "Really?"

Clint shrugged. "Okay, maybe not."

Fury's brows narrowed. "Stick to the story Barton," he barked.

Not agent anymore. Right.

He sighed. "Fine."


They left the dozen or so unconscious men behind, as the security guard led them to what had to be his office.

Clint kindly helped Matt to his seat, smirking at the memory of what had once happened in a courtroom. To curry favour with the jury, Matt had nearly sat on the floor, playing up the role of a blind man to its most extreme.

"I am Nestor," the boss man announced. "Can you read lips?" he asked Clint. "Or must I write it down."

How am I supposed to tell you that if I can't read lips?

"I don't understand," Clint told him. "Can you write it down?"

Nestor glared at him.

"What's going on Kyle?" Matt asked, grabbing for Clint's sleeve. He missed on the first attempt. Clever.

Clint made sure to look at his lips when he spoke. "It's okay Michael," he reassured him.

Nestor frowned. "How come you understand him, but not me?"

Clint screwed his face up in confusion. "I'm sorry, I can't tell what you're saying. It must be the accent. Or the moustache."

For indeed, Nestor did have an impressive moustache, the sort that a man would be proud of grooming.


"So far all I am getting from this story is that both of you played stupid very very well, so well in fact that it might not have been acting, and that Barton is in love with a man's facial hair. Get to the goddamn point," Fury growled.

Clint swallowed. His mouth was suddenly dry.


Nestor held up a picture. "Have you seen this man before?" the guard asked, pushing the piece of paper with the same question written down, closer to both of them. The photo was of one of them men they'd taken down not long ago. It was taken before the beatdown happened, whcih led Clint to believe the museum knew they were coming.

Clint squinted at the picture before shaking his head. "Nope," he lied.

Matt's leg twitched slightly against his. Lying...

"I can honestly say I've never seen him before in my life," Matt said, deadpan.

Clint snorted.

Nestor was growing more and more displeased by the second.

"What were you doing in my museum during the middle of an armed robbery?" he growled.

"Oh my god, was that what was going on?" Matt gasped, sounding horrified. "I couldn't... I didn't see any of it."

Clint squinted at the note that Nestor passed to him, containing the same question. "Oh wow, I didn't hear a thing." He winced. "Sorry about that," he said to Nestor.

Nestor's impressive moustache twitched. "Are you absolutely sure you did not see anything?" he asked again.

Matt shook his head. "I am quite blind."

"Not you!" Nestor roared.

Matt frowned. "If you're asking Kyle, he can't hear you. You'll have to write it down."

Nestor raised an eyebrow.

"Did you hear anything then."

Clint squinted at him. "Did you ask me if I heard anything? That's a bit silly. I'm deaf."

Nestor's moustache twitched again.

"Americans," he muttered, not under his breath enough for it to go unheard by either of them. "All of them are idiots."


"Okay," Fury said. "I knew that much. What I want to know is how you went from there to jail, especially while you were both pulling out all the stops when it came to playing the poor disabled Americans card."

Clint sighed. This was the part of the story he didn't like as much.


"Is this... a bow?" the large Russian hissed.

Besides Nestor, Clint hadn't gotten names on any of them, and had to resort to calling them the large Russian, the small Russian, and the maybe not Russian. The others had left, presumably to go deal with the pile of bodies they left behind. ("Barton," Fury growled. "What?")

They were being patted down before they could be taken to the small room that apparently substituted as a holding cell. Apparently Nestor wanted to keep them there until the police could take the would be robbers away. Or something. Clint wasn't really listening.

They'd missed two of the knives he had on him, and half of his arrows, but they did find the bow.

Crap.

Clint widened his eyes and looked horrified.

"What is that?" he gasped.


"Really?" Fury sighed. "That was the best you could do."

Clint glared at him. "You try coming up with better on short notice."

Fury's expression didn't change.

"A better explanation that fit with our cover stories of being oblivious Americans?" Clint pointed out.

"I couldn't see what it was," Matt chimed in.

"Shut up," Clint and Fury muttered at the same time.

Matt only beamed.


"Hey, Tasha, what are you doing?"

"What do you want?" she sighed.

"First of all, I am insulted at the thought that I can only be calling because I want something-"

"I have caller ID Clint. I know where you're calling from."

"Oh," Clint said, glancing around at the police station. "Right. Okay. So we may have gotten into a teensy bit of trouble-"

"We?" she interrupted.

Clint winced. He forgot that he hadn't told Natasha who he was with.

"Matt," he mumbled.

"You're telling me that a blind man and a deaf man have both gotten themselves arrested in Russia, and you want the former Russian assassin to come bail you out?"

Clint flinched. "Yes?" he said weakly.

There was a moment of silence.

"I'll be there soon."


"Well," Fury said finally. "So you had to be rescued from what was supposed to be a vacation, after stopping a major art theft, and potentially saving lives."

Clint considered what he said. "Yes?" he guessed. The way Fury said it sounded like a question, but totally wasn't.

Fury sighed, a long and exasperated sigh that would have provided plants enough work for at least a week.

"Dismissed," he said finally.

"Sir?" Clint asked, suddenly questioning the functioning of his hearing aids. They'd been working well so far, but he could swear that Fury just told him he was dismissed, which totally couldn't be-

"Dismissed," Fury growled, accompanying it with a shooing gesture. Not quite ASL, but the effort was there.

"Okay," Clint muttered, pushing his chair away from the desk and getting to his feet.

Beside him, Matt was getting up too.

"Not you Murdock. I need to have a word with you."

Clint raised an eyebrow, but chose not to protest, and instead scuttled off to begin to repay Tasha for the favour. God knows it will take him long enough.


When Fury had gotten the report that Romanoff had stolen a jet to fly to Russia and bail out Barton out, he wasn't surprised. But when he heard Murdock was involved, he did a double take. Sure, he knew that Romanoff and Murdock had history, but Barton and Murdock?

He wondered if it would be better or worse than when Barton met Lewis.

(There were pros and cons of each. Murdock could take care of himself, but he was also fearless. At least Lewis had the good sense to stop at a certain point.)

"Murdock," he sighed. "Can you honestly tell me that you went to Russia with the man who is known around SHIELD as a human disaster, and didn't end up getting yourselves killed? Or charged with anything?"

"I am a lawyer Nick."

Fury scowled at him. Murdock knew that pissed him off, yet continued to do it.

"I don't see how you could have lawyered your way out of that mess."

Murdock scoffed. "Right, because the Russian authorities were so looking forward to the lawsuit that resulting from the arrest of a blind man and a deaf man who were accused of... what even was it? Stopping an armed robbery? Possibly being in a conspiracy to commit armed robbery?" He shook his head. "Amateurs."

Fury rubbed his temples. He was getting nowhere. Murdock was a lawyer to his very soul.

"No more holidays with Barton. At least, not without supervision. God, you're like children."

"Agreed," he said cheerfully. "Next time we'll take Natasha."

"And Matt?"

"Yes Nick?"

"Quit screwing with Barton. It makes him feel bad."

"About what?" Matt asked innocently.

"God help me- the blind thing!"

Matt raised an eyebrow. "I don't see the issue."

"That's what I'm talking about..." he huffed. "Just because you've got those other things doesn't mean you can see. So quit fucking around with my agent and go back to your Kitchen."

"Your head is looking remarkably smooth today," he commented cheerily.

Fury scowled. "Murdock..."

"Good day Director!" he sang, twirling his cane around his finger as he strolled out of the office.

Fury only shook his head.