Just a little something I thought of
at 3am in the morning (Fury may be a little ooc). 1.3k words, watch for the cut.
Nobody knew of the relationship that Nick and Tony had. Close to the relationship of Clint and Coulson but not quite. It was a relationship born out of the days when Howard Stark used to bring his young son to the base. They would put Tony into “childproof” areas, but more often than not he would find a way out, and Nick Fury would be the one to find him. When Tony was a teenager, he regularly went to Nick for help dealing with his anxiety and other problems. Nick even ended up adding a secret room to his office that was always open for Tony. But when Howard and Maria Stark died, Tony took over the company and grew apart from one of his only father figures. But Nick never stopped caring. He was all too happy to open up that back door and let Tony vent once he became Ironman.
“How long is he going to take?” Agent Cage yelled, realizing that it was already fifteen minutes past the meeting time and Tony Stark still hadn’t showed up.
“Cage,” I growled at him in warning.
Just then, Tony walked in - puffed up with confidence and arrogance with a cocky smirk decorating his face. It fooled everyone else, but I could see through the facade. I could see the shadows bruising his skin, the tiredness in his muscles and the worn, broken look in his eyes.
“Tony, I trust you did the reading, would you care to enlighten us on your findings?” I started, electing to ignore the darkness in his eyes for the moment.
“Don’t you worry, Uncle Tony is here!”
“Great,” one of the agents muttered.
“Turns out that the drug dealer that you guys are trying to catch is also an illegal arms dealer who operates out of Iraq. Nasty fella isn’t he? Anyway, lucky for you there seems to be an extremely dangerous chemical weapon going on auction in Iraq in about 6 months, and every single arms dealer will be there including your target,” Tony finished, his signature easygoing smirk on his face.
“And how did you come upon this Intel?” I asked.
“Well Nick, turns out that word hasn’t gotten around that I’m Ironman and that I fight the bad guys now so it was actually frighteningly easy to get this Intel,” Tony sighed, “and there are conferences,” he muttered, and promptly collapsed into one of the chairs.
“Okay. Cage, you and Galloway are going to leave for Iraq in one hour. You will be integrating yourselves into the community and when the time comes you are going to take out your target. If you can take out anyone else without exposing yourselves, do it.” As soon as I finished they gave me a nod and they were about to leave the room.
“Oh and boys?”
“What do you want, Stark?” Cage asked irritably.
“Whatever you do, do not break, or even crack that vial. That weapon will cause you extreme pain for ten minutes and within seventeen you’ll be dead,”
Both the agents gulped and nodded, before leaving.
A few seconds later, Tony stood up to leave. He was one step away from the door when I called out, “Tony.”
"What do you want, Fury? I told you everything that would help the mission, ”
“I just have one question, are the nightmares getting better?”
The reaction was immediate, Tony stiffened fractionally, his shoulders hunched in, his eyes quickly darting around the room looking for a quick exit, all for a split-second before he straightened out, and put on a nonchalant face.
I got up and walked over to Tony, putting a hand on his shoulder, “Drop the act, Tony. I can read you like a book. I know that you’re still suffering.”
Tony sighed, his posture falling as he leaned in towards me, "They’re getting better I promise-”
“Why don’t you just tell me the truth, Tony? I know that you spend all day working on new prosthetics for Rhodes, and you throw yourself into work. I know that you barely sleep, because sleep is when the nightmares come. The nightmares of New York, Sokovia and Ultron, of the vision you had before you took the scepter, and even Siberia. I know that you feel abandoned and alone. And do you know what the worst part is? I know that you blame yourself,”
At this point Tony had tears in his eyes.
“Tony, you shouldn’t blame yourself for ‘tearing the avengers apart’ -”
“Why not? Why shouldn’t I? Even the star-spangled ice cube said it, even when I’m following the law I’m wrong! Because it doesn’t matter because Cap’s best friend is Bucky and Bucky fucking Barnes will always come first! Because I can’t do anything goddamned right! Because Steve fucking Rogers is the fucking golden boy and I’m just an egotistical, selfish, arrogant playboy!”
I, for once in my life was speechless. I just opened his arms and pulled Tony close, making sure to give the genius enough time to pull away if he wanted to. Tony was enveloped in warmth, and he felt safer than he had ever been. He broke down in the hug, silent sobs wracking his body, his shoulders shaking, and I could feel his face and my shirt getting wet. I was sure that if I had let go he would have collapsed.
I would never think of Tony Stark as a small man, not when he could fill a room just by walking in. But right now, I couldn’t help but notice how short the man was, his head tucked easily underneath my chin. The scientist was even trying to burrow further into the my coat. Seeing Tony like this suddenly filled me up with the uncontrollable urge to punch Steve Rogers in the face for what he did to Tony, for what he did to his own team.
“You know that your room is still open for you, right?” I said as he pulled away gently, letting Tony wipe his tears out of his eyes.
“You’ll still let me use it?” Tony looked up at him with something of wonder in his eyes. It was moments like these that remind me of just how much this man has been through. It was rare for the genius to show any true emotion, and it struck me just how broken this man is, who had built himself up more times than I could possibly count.
“Tony, I wasn’t kidding when I said that I cared about you. Not then, and definitely not now. I could never stop caring about you Tony, no matter how many stupid things you do, you will always be welcome in the back, you’re practically my son.” I finished in a whisper.
His eyes widened marginally filling with an emotion akin to astonishment, so it was obvious he had heard me. “Why though?” Seeing my confused face he continued, “I used to be the reason terrorists were able to do what they did, I’m the one who caused the disaster at Sokovia, because I created Ultron. I caused Rhodey’s paralysis, I’m the reason Rogers had to break the avengers out of prison. Fury, I practically caused my second family to fall apart!”
I quickly pulled Tony in again, leading him to the back. Stroking his back lightly with my fingertips, a routine we had perfected after Afghanistan.
“Shhh, shhh, shhh, it’s not your fault Tony. It’s not your fault, the blame falls evenly across everyone, and even though Rogers won’t admit it doesn’t mean that he’s not to blame either. Honestly, I think the captain is twice as arrogant than he makes you out to be, what with the arrogance he must have to say that he has the best moral compass,” I said as I ran my fingers through Tony’s hair, and I was rewarded with a light snort from Tony.
“Now go to sleep, and when you wake up I want you to eat a full meal then come find me and we can go to that really nice ice cream place down to street, then we can go to the gun range,” I said as I turned off the lights.
“But Nick, I’m not a kid anymore. You don’t have to do things with me, I’m not an obligation.”
“Ton if I didn’t want to do things with you, then I wouldn’t do things with you, so now shut your trap and go to sleep.”
“Thank you.” He whispered.
“Not for that, Tony, please.” I said, quietly.
“But you stayed.”
“Why would I leave?”