"You weren't supposed to do this again," Fury said, sighing and sounding completely and utterly done.
Also, Matt was slightly concerned about his heart rate. Maybe too much stress or sodium in his diet.
"I said we'd take Natasha this time," Matt said immediately. "And we did."
Fury didn't say anything, and Matt assumed he was glaring fiercely with his one eye.
"I never said that we would avoid trouble," he added. "Since it's more of a matter of trouble finding us."
Matt didn't even need his radar sense to know that the thump was Fury's head hitting his desk.
"I have a plan," Matt announced loudly, in case Clint didn't have his hearing aids in.
He swore, and spun around to face Matt.
"Fuck," he breathed, "Don't do that."
Matt shrugged. "I did knock," he said, tapping his cane to make a point. "Vibrations."
Clint sighed. "What were you saying?"
"I have a plan," Matt repeated.
Clint was silent for a moment. "Is this going to get us in shit with Fury?"
"Probably," Matt replied cheerfully. "But as long as we take Natasha with us this time, he can't say a thing."
"Was that what you were talking about after I left?" Clint asked. He sounded like he was frowning.
Matt shrugged. "Among other things."
Clint considered it. "Okay, what is it?"
"You know how you were telling me about dolphins when you thought I was asleep on the plane ride back? I wasn't, by the way. Well, yeah."
Clint's face lengthened, which Matt knew meant he was gaping.
He grinned. "I know."
"What was the purpose of this trip?" Fury asked, his face now removed from the desk, more or less.
"Clint wanted to swim with dolphins," Matt told him, entirely serious.
"For fuck's... there are dolphins everywhere. You could have gone to Florida, you could have gone to Vegas, you could have gone to anywhere that wasn't the literal hell on Earth. No one in their right mind goes to Australia voluntarily." He paused, and sighed. "I guess that's why you went."
Matt smiled innocently.
"Australia man?" Clint asked. He sounded doubtful. "Do we really have to go all that way?"
"It's worth it," Matt assured him. "Not only is it summer there now, but Australia also boasts the great barrier reef, which I've been told is the most beautiful thing in the world. Or underwater anyway." He shrugged. "I took their word for it."
"Do you think Nat will come?"
Matt grinned. "She's already on board."
"Literally," Natasha added.
Matt hadn't even heard her come up behind them, which was embarrassing. Then again, he was distracted, but if it was any sort of life or death scenario, he'd be gone right now.
"Jesus Nat," Clint moaned. "Stop picking on the disabled guys."
She shrugged. "You think I don't fuck with everyone else like this? You don't get special treatment. Or is that what you wanted?"
Matt was almost positive she was raising an eyebrow pointedly.
Clint sighed. "What did you mean by literally?"
"As in my stuff is already on the jet, the flight plan has been filed, and wheels are up in thirty."
Clint groaned. "Kate is gonna kill me."
Matt patted his shoulder in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. "Don't feel so bad about it, I've only known for an hour."
"Yeah, but I'm supposed to take Lucky this weekend."
Matt frowned. "Is that the dog?"
"Yes it is," Natasha answered, sounding both exasperated and endeared.
"You could always just... bring him along," Matt pointed out. "We could pass him off as a seeing eye dog."
Clint snorted, and Natasha might have even exhaled in what could have been a laugh.
Clint snickered again before answering. "Lucky only has one eye. Not much of a seeing eye dog."
Matt considered it, then grinned. "He'd be perfect."
Fury rubbed his head with his hands. "So you brought the dog just because Barton was supposed to be looking after it that weekend? And you decided to pass a one eyed dog off as a seeing eye dog for a blind man with superpowers?"
Matt tilted his head. "Yeah, that about sums it up," he confirmed.
"And why was Miss Bishop unable to keep the dog for the weekend?"
Clint mumbled something that wasn't actually any words.
"Speak up Barton," Fury demanded.
"She was having a slumber party," Clint said miserably.
Fury muttered something that sounded a lot like 'those fucking young Avengers and their babysitters', but even Matt couldn't be entirely certain.
"I didn't know dogs could get airsick," Matt commented.
"I don't think they can," Clint groaned. "I think this is just a Lucky thing."
Matt frowned. "Did he get the name after he lost the eye, or was it an incidence of misfortune that the name backfired."
Clint sighed. "I gave him the name after I rescued him from some guys who were awful people, and kicked him out into traffic. He already had a name, but I renamed him. Figured it was the least I could do for him. He did save me first, after all."
He patted the dog's ear fondly.
"What was his name before?" Matt asked.
Clint's heart rate spiked briefly before he spoke. "Arrow," he muttered.
From the cockpit, Natasha's laugh rang out, and Matt couldn't help but snicker.
"I honestly don't know why you changed it."
Clint pouted before Lucky started gagging again, and he had to jump into action.
Fury managed a slight exhale of air at that. Matt thought it might have even been a laugh.
"Okay, that makes me feel better. An airsick dog."
He shook his head.
"This is as hot as Satan's ass-crack," Clint moaned.
Matt scratched his head. It was indeed hot, bordering on sweltering.
"I didn't realize," he admitted.
"What, you decide to go to Australia in the middle of its summer and don't bother to look up how hot it's going to be?" Clint demanded.
Matt schooled his expression into something slightly sad. "They don't make many books in Braille."
Clint's heart rate reacted in guilt, before it sped up in anger. "Hey, don't fuck with me man, there are all sorts of software and stuff now. Bullshit," he muttered.
"I knew it was going to be this hot," Natasha added. She'd changed into something that covered a lot less skin before she'd left the plane, and Matt heard Clint's heartbeat speed up when he caught sight of her.
He almost wished he could see it.
But sight wouldn't have protected him like his radar did from the sudden attack from above.
He managed to duck out of the way before whatever it was attacked him. Clint and Natasha weren't so lucky.
"What the fuck!" Clint exclaimed, and Natasha squeaked a little.
"What the hell is that?" he asked.
Matt shrugged. "I saw nothing," he said, straightening back up and adjusting his shirt.
"Oh fuck off," Clint muttered. "Are you okay Nat?"
She swore in Russian. "It was a bird."
"Oh my god, it was a bird? Everything here literally does try and kill you."
Matt levelled a look at them that he hoped was stern. It was probably softened behind the glasses.
"Oh, come on. We've got dolphins to see, remember? Keep your eye on the prize."
Clint groaned. "Do you just try and fit as many sayings about sight into your speech as you can? Do you do this on purpose to make other people uncomfortable?"
Matt only shrugged, and smiled internally.
"Dive bombing birds? Are you shitting me right now?" Fury growled.
"Not at all Director," Matt replied cheerfully. "If you'd like, we have a video we can provide for evidence. It's of a teenaged girl riding a bike and being attacked by birds repeatedly."
"I'm not even going to ask how you know what the video is of Murdock," Fury huffed. "And no, I don't want to see it. Can you skip to the part that is the reason why I called you here today?"
Matt sighed. "I suppose. Any other objections?"
"We should just stop taking vacations," Clint sighed.
Natasha shushed him, and turned her attention back to whatever the sight was in front of her.
Matt only saw the movement and vague outlines of shapes, but not exactly it was that they were doing.
"What are they doing," he whispered to Clint.
"It's a transaction of some sort, but I can't hear anything," he replied.
Natasha shushed him again.
"Can you hear them?" Clint whispered.
Matt shook his head. There was too much ambient noise, like the heavy breathing of the dog in his ear, and they were at the limits of his hearing.
"Can you read their lips?" Matt asked.
"Nah, their back are turned," Clint replied.
There was a sudden loud noise, and then men started yelling.
"I can sure hear them now," Clint muttered.
"Shit," Natasha muttered. "I think they saw us."
"How, we're in a vent," Clint protested. "I'm getting my bow out."
Nat covered his mouth with a hand. She only removed it to sign something at both of them.
"What a minute," Fury interjected. "How can he understand sign language?"
"I can't," Matt corrected. "Not everything at least. But some signs are very clear and easy for me to read, usually the ones that involve sweeping movements."
Clint nodded. "Now, if you'll let him finish his story..."
"No, go back." Natasha signed angrily. "Take dog."
Matt sighed, but obeyed, and he and Clint crawled their way back through the vent. Honestly, vacations.
"I should have just shot them," Clint said glumly.
"I'm sure Natasha knows what she's doing," Matt assured him.
"No kidding, but it would be nice if she'd share once in a while."
Matt nodded in agreement. "Where are we again? Because I know we're not where we're supposed to be, but where exactly we ended up..." he shrugged. "Can't read the signs."
Clint startled a little at that. "Oh shit, you're right. It's just that, sometimes I forget what you can and can't do. Um. I think were in someplace with one of the five w's in the name. And it sounded like holla." He paused. "Wheralla? Whenholla? Whoholla? Whyalla?"
"That one is actually a place," Matt interrupted, before Clint could butcher the language anymore. "It's about four hours from Adelaide, which is where we're supposed to be." He frowned. "Yeah, how did we end up here?"
Clint shrugged. "Nat," he said, either by way of explanation, or by greeting, since she was coming up behind them.
"How did you end up in Whyalla?" Fury asked.
"I don't actually know," Matt admitted. "Natasha was driving."
"I fell asleep," Clint offered.
A thought occurred to Matt, at the same time it must have occurred to Clint, because his heart rate sped up.
"Do you think she-" Matt began.
"Oh definitely," Clint said.
Matt assumed Fury was staring at them, because it was painfully quiet for a moment.
"You have got to be fucking with me," he said finally. "One of my best agents and the man who calls himself Daredevil were outwitted by a woman who was busy flying the plane while you were cleaning up dog vomit."
Clint turned to look at Matt, but he only shrugged.
"So what's the plan?" he asked.
"The plan?" Natasha repeated incredulously. "The plan is that you stay here, and that you," this was directed at Clint, "stop getting yourself into trouble."
"Aw, Nat," he whined.
"No, stop. No sulking on missions. It's a rule. Now remember, if we get caught, you're deaf and I don't speak English."
Clint nodded. "Got it."
"And you?" she hissed, jabbing a finger in his direction. "Don't do anything. Just stay here with the dog. Out of sight."
"Right," Matt agreed. "Out of sight. Whose sight?"
Clint snickered behind Natasha. She swatted him on the head, and presumably glared at Matt. Natasha's glare could probably be weaponized. Maybe SHIELD had already tried? He wouldn't put it past them.
Matt looked in the Director's direction pointedly. His heart rate didn't budge.
"Continue Mr Murdock," he growled.
"So how's it going?" Matt whispered loudly.
Clint jumped, swearing under his breath, but Natasha didn't so much as flinch.
"I told you to stay out of sight," she said flatly.
Matt shrugged. "I am out of sight."
"What have you got here then?" he asked, peering into the back of the van. The two men that had been in it were on the ground, unconscious, courtesy of one of Natasha's signature moves.
Natasha was prying one of the crates open with something long and dense.
"Is that a crowbar?" he asked. "Do you seriously travel with a crowbar? Where do you even keep it?"
"It's an arrow," Clint said sadly. "And she's going to break it."
"Am not," Natasha replied, the lid releasing with a crack. The arrow was indeed still intact, if somewhat bent.
Clint took it back and whimpered slightly. Natasha ignored him and focused her attention on the contents of the crate.
"So what are they?" Matt asked. The crates were filled with large round containers. Natasha had picked one of them up and was holding it in her hands, examining it closely.
"Biological agents? Drugs? Money? Organs?"
Natasha sighed slightly, and Clint outright giggled.
"No," she said finally. "They're... mayonnaise. Giants jars of mayonnaise."
"Mayonnaise?" Matt repeated, because no matter how good his hearing was, he was almost positive he'd misheard.
"Mayonnaise," Natasha confirmed.
"Mayonnaise," Clint echoed.
Matt shook his head slowly. "I don't understand this country."
Clint huffed. "Nope. What the hell even is Australia. Are we sure it's a real place and not just some sort of social experiment?" he muttered.
Fury cleared his throat.
Matt raised his eyebrows in shock. "Really?"
"I said nothing," he growled. "That was not confirmed."
Clint leaned back in his chair and folded his arms above his head.
"Kate owes me five bucks," he said, smug.
"Is this even a crime?" Matt sighed.
"Not a crime on our level," Clint huffed. "We're Avengers! Well, me and Tasha are. We don't deal with mayonnaise thefts. That's something for like, sheriffs. Or level one agents."
Natasha nodded in agreement. "True, but we're already here. And have possibly broken some laws. So we might as well." She shrugged.
Matt sighed, and flopped down in the back of the truck. "I can't believe I went to college for this," he muttered. Lucky seemed to agree, because he laid his head on Matt's stomach.
Clint snorted. "Dude, you can't go to college for this sort of thing."
"No," Matt sighed again. "But if my father saw me now..."
Natasha tossed the jar of mayo back into the crate. "You know what, screw this. We came to swim with dolphins, and that's what we're going to do."
"A woman after my own heart," Clint exclaimed.
"Let's go see some dolphins," Matt bellowed, jumping back to his feet.
Clint groaned. "Really man?"
"I asked you to stop doing that," Fury growled.
"Doing what?" Matt asked, the picture of innocence.
Fury sighed. "Making Barton uncomfortable."
Clint laughed. "Aw, Sir, it's adorable that you've been looking out for me like that. But really not necessary."
"I thought you booked this," Clint hissed.
"I might have... delegated," Matt admitted. "Kirstin did the booking."
Natasha sounded incredulous. "And she forgot to tell you that it was a teensy bit illegal?"
Matt sighed, shifting in his handcuffs. "Apparently."
It could have been on purpose, but he kind of liked Kirstin, and didn't want Natasha to kill her.
"Someone can get us out of this, right?" Clint said hopefully.
Lucky made a mournful sound and Natasha didn't speak.
"Possibly," Matt sighed. "After all, I'm blind, you're deaf, and she doesn't speak English."
Natasha made an amused sound that was most likely accompanied by a smirk.
"So that's why I can't go on any more missions to Australia," Clint concluded.
"Because you were deported?" Fury clarified.
"It wasn't technically deportation," Matt corrected. "They decided not to press charges against us, after I pointed out how awful the press would be. A blind man, a deaf man, and a woman that didn't speak English being prosecuted for being lost and confused, and stumbling into the sea chasing after their dog? No, it wouldn't be very good." He smiled at Fury. "We agreed to leave, and never really come back."
The flight back home was less eventful.
"You know," Clint said thoughtfully. "It might have been the pizza."
"Lucky getting airsick. It might have been the floor pizza he ate earlier in the day."
Matt swatted his ankles with his cane.
"Ouch! That hurt," Clint whined.
"Good," Matt snapped. "I had to deal with an airsick dog because you were stupid enough to feed him floor pizza."
Clint whined a bit more, but didn't protest.
"No more vacations without a SHIELD escort," Fury growled. "Next time the two of you go anywhere together, Natasha will not be considered adequate supervision. You will take a SHIELD agent with you. Probably Coulson if I can get him away from his team for long enough." He sighed. "Or hell, maybe I'll just send everyone along with you. It can't get too much worse, right?"
"I'm going to regret saying that," Fury mumbled.
"Yup. We good?" Natasha asked, appearing from behind the door.
Matt gave her a thumbs up.
Fury sighed. "I don't care how long you were there. I really don't."
"Keep telling yourself that Nick," Clint chirped.
"Next time we're taking Sam with us, and I get to pick where we go," Natasha told them.
Clint shrugged, and when they looked at Matt, he only shrugged.
"I didn't even get to see the dolphins," Matt said forlornly.
Everyone in the room froze, until:
Natasha laughed, and everything went to hell.