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The World's Most Underpaid Babysitter

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 When the S.H.I.E.L.D higher-ups had first appointed him the head of the Avengers initiative, Nick Fury had never thought it’d boil down to this.  All the job description said was to give them orders and get their asses into gear. He’d always known Stark would be a pain, but he’d never expected it to be like this.

Nick Fury never expected that six extraordinary people would manage to downgrade him from highly lauded international super spy to highly underpaid babysitter.

He likes to think it hadn’t always been this way, that in the beginning it had been strictly S.H.I.E.L.D related nagging. But the more he thinks about it, the more he thinks that it was never so.

“Captain,” Fury had barked through the phone. “Just where the hell are you?”

It had been a few months since the Loki incident and all had been calm. Calm enough for Tony to rebuild Stark Tower, with quarters for all the Avengers, without interruption.

But nothing could last forever and there were currently aliens setting midtown ablaze.

“I called you in twenty minutes ago!”

“I’m on my way,” Steve grunted through the phone. “You know I’ll be there.”

“You know, this wouldn’t have happened if you had just accepted Tony’s invitation to live with the rest of the team.”

“I don’t accept charity. Especially not from Tony Stark.”

“Excuse me?” Fury said, head snapping up from where he was looking down at his various screens. “Do firemen consider being able to go back to the firehouse charity?”

“But-”

“I. Don’t. Think. So,” he said, punching out the words. “You are part of a team, Rogers. A team you are supposed to be Captain of. A team that is currently fighting without you. So you get yo’ ass in gear, kill some aliens, and move into the goddamn tower with your team.”

Fury could feel the vein in the top of his head throbbing erratically. He did not get paid enough for this. “This way, if I need you, you can actually be there! Now hurry up, solider!” he screamed through the line before slamming the phone down.

He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself even though he didn’t really relax until he finally saw Captain America’s blue and red uniform flash across the screen.

He figured their conversation had ultimately been a win win. If it got through to him, all the Avengers would be in one place, as all the others had moved in weeks ago. It would be easier to keep an eye on them, or dispatch them as a unit.

And if it didn’t, well. At least it hurried his ass up.

Having all the Avengers in one place seemed like such a good idea. In theory.

Fury didn’t realize the extent of how wrong he was until he decided to drop in for a visit. Nothing S.H.I.E.L.D related, just coming around to say hi. And to make sure that Steve hadn’t murdered Tony.

He didn’t expect to walk in on Barton doing his target practice with a bullseye right above where Banner sat reading.

“Barton!” he yelled, causing the agent to turn towards him with a vaguely interested look.

He threw a casual, “Hey, Fury.” Over his shoulder and sent another arrow flying towards his target.

“Just what do you think you’re doing, agent?”  the spy yelled.

“Practicing,” he said, as if it should be obvious.

“And you think it’s a good idea to practice right above Banner’s head?” Fury asked, incredulous with a hand on his hip.

Bruce’s head popped up at the mention of his name, brows furrowed. He understood Fury’s appalled tone once he saw the look he was shooting at his teammate.

A small, amused yet slightly self-deprecating smile broke out across his face. “Don’t worry, the arrows aren’t bothering me. Or the other guy. Besides, Clint never misses, right?”

He shot the other agent a grin over his shoulder that Clint returned quickly, as if they were laughing at an inside joke.

“Never,” he nodded with a grin, looking back to Fury.

Fury took a deep breath and decided to let it go. He hadn’t even come to talk to Barton. But neither Stark nor Rogers were around and he didn’t hear or see any signs of fighting so he decided to let it slide. He had other projects to deal with.

He turned on his heal without so much as a goodbye and started back towards the door, only to be stopped a few steps later. A deep chuckle he had only heard once or twice before spilled out into the corridor, bouncing off the walls. He turned his one good eye towards the foreign sound.

He found himself peering into a media room of some sorts; Tony and Steve curled up on the couch together watching His Girl Friday like they were old friends. Nick Fury had stopped being surprised a long time ago, but even he couldn’t deny the way his jaw dropped at the sight of them.

He didn’t hear her coming down the hall until she spoke. It was the only fact about this situation he wasn’t surprised about.

“Something wrong?” Natasha asked from his side.

“When the hell did that happen?”

“A week or so after Steve moved in,” she said, with a rare grin. “Once they stopped sniping at each other every five seconds, they found out that they have the same taste in movies. They’ve been pretty tolerant of each other since then. Even friendly.”

Fury shook his head, trying to wrap his head around the situation. The only thought he managed as he waved Natasha off and got into his car was, well, at least they’re not killing each other.

The second time he paid a visit to the tower, it was actually to talk with the team about Avengers business. They all needed to have a serious chat about the massive amounts of property damage they managed to inflict every time they went out into battle. If he got one more seven figure bill from Bloomberg’s office S.H.I.E.L.D might just go bankrupt and he might just have to kill somebody.

He overrode JARVIS’ security measures within a few minutes and walked down the hall towards the kitchen and into a large cloud of thick, black smoke.

“What the-” he muttered, crouching low and covering his mouth with his jacket sleeve as he moved closer to the source of the smoke. The smell of burnt food flooded him as he entered the kitchen and pretty soon he could see the source of the problem.

Thor stood over a heap of metal, a look of utter confusion on his face as he flailed wildly in an attempt to clear the smoke that was coming from what Fury assumed used to be an appliance.

Fury took one more look at the smashed remants on the floor and Thor’s flailing arms that were just about to smash Mjolnir down onto the poor, broken contraption before he yelled, “Just what is going on here?”

The demigod stopped mid swing and looked up at the director, startled.

“Director Fury!” he yelled, “The infernal Midguardian device known as a ‘toaster’ has tried to kill me!”

“What?” Fury said, still confused. Or maybe that was just the smoke getting to him.

“I was merely trying to make the delicious delicacy known as ‘poptarts’ and the device began to spew black smoke. I ripped it from the wall but it still emits a foul odor. I cannot be sure but I believe it to be poisonous.”

By this point Fury was pinching the bridge of his nose, trying desperately to keep that pesky throbbing vein in check. But sometimes these, for lack of a better word, children in spandex and leather always knew just how to get to him. He couldn’t even take a deep breath thanks to this mess.

“It isn’t poisonous,” he finally replied, voice sharp. His eyes wandered over to the place on the counter where the toaster once sat. He hadn’t lied about ripping it from the wall. There was a large hole where the electrical socket used to be. Fury’s hands curled into fists.

“Go open some windows,” he grit out. “We need to get some air in here.”

He surprisingly obeyed without a word. Fury guessed that Thor just assumed he was better versed in how to handle deadly toaster fumes that he was.

It wasn’t until the house was clean of smoke and toaster remnants and Thor was settled at the kitchen table, happily eating the stack of plain non-toasted poptarts Fury had given him, that Fury noticed just how quiet the house was.

“Where are the others?” he asked, sliding into a chair across the table.

“Banner, Barton, and Agent Romanov have gone to the Emporium of Food to fetch us our week’s fare.”

“Mmhmm,” Fury hummed, unimpressed. “And what about Stark and Rogers?”

“They were gone before I awoke. Though the voice in the ceiling has told me that Rogers decided Stark needed time away from the laboratory and has taken him to the park. That is why I attempted to make the poptarts on my own. Usually Banner or Natasha will make them for me.”

Fury let out a heavy sigh. This plan, as almost every plan that he made involving the Avengers, was a bust. He looked towards the clock and was almost tempted to sigh again when he realized all of this had only taken up a half an hour or so. Great. He wasn’t looking forward going back to HQ and getting his ear chewed off about how he can’t even handle his own team. And he’s pretty sure that if he hangs up on them one more time they might just take disciplinary action.

He slid out the chair wordlessly, intent on heading back to where he came from when Thor spoke.

“If you came here for a reason, please feel welcome to stay until the others return,” he said, in the oddly genuine manner only Thor could pull off. “Come now, take a seat.”

And honestly, how was he supposed to deny an Asguardian holding out a poptart?

The only sign of amusement he let show as he took the poptart and plopped down into the chair was a slight twitch at the corner of his lips.

The rest of the team came back eventually, some making their displeasure at his presence more obvious than others but what else was new?

Well. One thing was new.

The way Tony looked right before he spotted his favorite director and promptly rolled his eyes. He had been smiling, actually smiling like he meant it. It wasn’t a shit eating grin, or an I’m-better-than-you-smirk, or even the leer reserved especially for schmoozing. No he was actually wearing a happy smile as he looked up into the face of none other than one Captain Steve Rogers, whose pursed lips and sparkling eyes obviously said I find what you just said hysterical even though it is highly inappropriate but I refuse to give in and laugh because I am too decent for that.

Huh. Well that was interesting.

But before Fury could contemplate that further or even get to what he had come here for in the first place he was cut off by Tony’s loud squawk.

“What the hell happened to my wall?”

Nick Fury doesn’t sleep. He waits. And unlike Charlie Sheen, it’s actually true. Because if Nick Fury actually let himself rest for more than two minutes, he’s sure that something somewhere would explode.

It’s a fact that is proven when he’s awoken at some God awful time in the morning on a Saturday by a slightly frantic Pepper Potts, whose first words are “I don’t know where Tony is.”

“Excuse me?” he asks, still slightly groggy even though somewhere in the back of his mind he’s already placed the voice. “How did you even get this number?”

“That’s beside the point. The point is that this morning Steve Rogers called me to say that Tony hadn’t been home in two days and I do not have a clue where he is. The last time I actually had no idea where he was he came back to me with an arc reactor in his chest and I know that you’ve had S.H.I.E.L.D tracking him ever since the almost-dying-birthday-party fiasco so I’d appreciate it if you’d find him for me,” she said, so panicked her words rushed together.  

“I am not your personal tracking system nor am I Stark’s GPS,” he snapped down the phone. “I’m sure Stark will stumble back home eventually. He’s a grown ass adult. He can take care of himself.”

“Director, please,” she begged quickly before he could end the call. “I wouldn’t have called unless there weren’t any other options.”

Fury heaved a heavy sigh. He knew that he’d been going soft lately, but this was a new level of pitiful.

“Fine,” he grumbled. “But I won’t promise that I won’t physically harm him when I do find him.”

He cut off the call before he could hear Pepper’s rush of thank you’s.

You’d think with all of his genius that Tony would’ve learned how to avoid the all seeing eye of S.H.I.E.L.D by now but to Fury’s surprise, he’s able to track him down on the first attempt. He’s even more surprised when he shows up to the address and actually finds Tony instead of something along the lines of a note that said ‘Haha, you’ve been punk’d. XOXO Your favorite genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.’

The trace leads him to a hotel that doesn’t exactly look seedy but still manages to have that ‘if I slip you a few hundreds under the table, you never saw me’ kind of feel. In fact, he’s pretty sure he saw a senator in the lobby.

He charges upstairs the second he’s pulled enough badges to force Stark’s room number from the poor info desk girl. She gives him a key but he kicks down the door anyway simply because it’s 4 AM on the first Saturday morning he’s had off in months and he’s here. 

Stark doesn’t look surprised to see him, but then again Stark looks like he wouldn’t notice if a herd of elephants had busted the door down. Fury can tell from the glazed look in his eyes that he’s completely wasted and as he moves further into the room it only becomes more obvious; from the heavy stench of alcohol and scattered bottles to the disheveled state of the room and Stark’s clothing.

He’s a very calm drunk. He merely looks Fury up and down as if he’s hardly surprised that he’s there. And when he speaks his words aren’t slurred, just a bit too rushed. Fury assumes that it must be the result of many practiced years of liver abuse.

“Good evening, Fury- or is it morning? I’m not really sure,” he rushes out.

“What the hell are you doing?” Fury asks. “If you wanted to go on a drinking binge, couldn’t you have done it at home? Or at least somewhere where Potts could find you on her own?”

“No. No. No. Nope,” he trailed, swinging the bottle in his hand around in small circles. “Because everyone is just there and they’d just know. They’d look and they’d know. I think they all know already, in fact there might be a bet-”

“Know what, Stark?” Fury grinds out, voice already edging on furious. He wasn’t paid enough for this shit.

Tony just laughs. “It’s so stupid, you know? ‘Cause I’ve done this. I did this and failed. It flopped. It crashed and burned miserably. And I said ‘No, nope. Never again. You weren’t meant for this, Stark.’ Yet here, I am!”

Fury cuts in while he pauses to take a sip from the bottle. “What’s this?”

Tony lets out a bark of laughter again, only this time it’s far more bitter. “Relationships. Monogamy. Swooning and cheesy dates and flowers and chocolates and-” he pauses to take another sip, before spitting out the final word. “Love.”

He speaks that last word like it’s poisonous and Fury needs to take a moment to sit down because he is totally unequipped to handle this situation.

“Love?” he finally asks. “Is this about Potts again?”

Tony’s face scrunches up, like he’s contemplating laughing again, but it smoothes quickly. “No. No, not Pepper. No, this is far, far worse.”

“If not her then-” and then it hits him like a ton of bricks. For the first time in many, many years Fury just wants to get up and run as far away as possible.

“Ah,” Tony says, shooting him a self-deprecating smirk over the rim of the bottle. “Not so allergic to intelligence as I thought you were, are ya? Yep. Record this for the ages. I, Tony Stark, am in love with fucking Spangles. Cap. I mean, Cap. Honestly, I blame the Kiss the Cap apron. A man that attractive should never wear an apron unless he wants me to start to wonder what he’d look like with nothing under-”

“Okay!” Fury cut him off, not wanting any more details than he already had. He was uncomfortable enough with this as is. “That’s enough of that. I think it’s time you got your ass up and come with me.”

“And why would I do that?”

“Because-” I command you to you ungrateful, little bastard. He grits his teeth to keep from the rest of it from tumbling out. He takes a deep breath and tries again. “If you really loved him you’d let me get you sobered up and bring you home because he’s worried sick about you right now.”

“How do you-”

“Why else would I be here?” he sighs out. No need for Stark to know it’s Rogers via Potts who sent him. It’s not important.

He sets down the bottle and Fury sighs a sigh of relief, thinking that this entire fiasco has finally reached its awkward end. But then Stark speaks again. 

“And what do I say when I get there? ‘Oh, sorry I disappeared for three days. I was just pining away for you. No big deal!’ I can’t. I can’t go back.”

Fury cast a brief glace heavenward, muttering something along the lines of the Lord is testing me, before saying “Look, I’m not the one to usually promote fraternization between teammates but I can tell already that you’re going to be an even bigger pain in my ass until this passes so you know what? Get your ass up. Chug some coffee. Take an aspirin. And fucking man up and tell Rogers that you are in love with him.”

“But-”

“No! You’re going to be a miserable bastard whether you don’t tell him or you tell him and he doesn’t return the sentiment. So you might as well tell him. Now I am going downstairs and I am going to wait in my car for exactly five minutes before I drive off and send some very violent S.H.I.E.L.D agents to come bust a cap in your ass. Understood?”

He nods and Fury isn’t surprised when he slides into the passenger seat precisely four minutes and fifty-nine seconds later. He says nothing, but his lips do twitch up when his eyes land on the GPS system Fury had used to guide him to the hotel. And Fury thinks that maybe it was less that he hadn’t learned how to avoid S.H.I.E.L.D’s eyes and more that he just might have wanted to be found this time.

After he drops Tony back at the mansion, he doesn’t hear or see from any of the Avengers or their friends for about a month. It’s not that he doesn’t care, as much as he doesn’t have time. Almost immediately after the hotel incident, he’s called away on a mission in the Peruvian Andes and has no contact with anyone outside of his team.

When he returns three weeks later, he’s buried under so much paperwork that checking up on the team gets pushed to the back burner. He figures as long as there isn’t a national emergency or alien invasion and the team hasn’t killed each other, that they can handle themselves for a little while. But then of course, on the lucky fifth week of peace and quiet, some wiseass supervillian decides that it’s a great day to try and level Manhattan.

He calls the Avengers to assemble over the comm and they dispatch quickly. All except for two. He presses his finger to his ear piece, already thoroughly annoyed.

“Excuse me?” he barks down the phone. “Just where are Rogers and Stark?”

Natasha is the first to answer as Fury watches her dodge another blast on the screen. “We hadn’t seen them all day and when we tried to call them before we left JARVIS had been turned off. We figured they had left already but we can’t find them. Do you have their location?”

Fury just let out a stream of curses, not even responding to her question before storming out of HQ and towards Stark Tower.

He eventually finds them in Stark’s bedroom and he’s extremely disappointed in himself when he realizes that he isn’t immediately appalled.

They aren’t naked or anything, but Tony’s got Steve pinned against the wall and they’re going at each other like a couple of horny teenagers with tongues down each other’s throats and writhing in a way that Fury never really wanted to know either were capable of.

“Excuse me!” he screams and they break apart so quickly it’s comical. Fury is almost disappointed that he’s so angry that he can’t properly revel in Stark’s deer in the headlights look.

“Is this some sort of horrible nightmare?” Stark asks.

Fury ignores him in favor of screaming, “I called you to assemble twenty minutes ago! Your team is out there fighting without you!”

And Steve, poor Steve. He looks absolutely mortified. “I’m so sorry, sir,” he rushes out. “When Tony muted JARVIS we had no idea-”

“I don’t want your excuses, Captain!” he screams, “You two are ridiculous! Stark, you are a forty year old man. And you!” he says, pointing at Steve. “You’re ninety! And you’re both in here making out like a bunch of teenagers! Ridiculous! Suit up! Now!”

They follow his command immediately, running out the door past him as soon as they possibly can.

It isn’t until they leave and the pressure is off for a moment that the situation fully sinks in.

Tony and Steve were kissing.

 He lets himself think back to the pitiful drunkard in his passenger seat, and cracks a small grin for approximately two milliseconds before he turns on his heel and follows them down the hall.

Fury’s tired. And not your regular kind of tired. No it’s the aches-in-your-bones kind of tired. They’d just been through a long battle and an even longer day. He wanted nothing more than to just go home and fall into bed and not think about anything for a while.

But instead he found himself walking through the empty halls of the S.H.I.E.L.D infirmary. He figures that it had been long enough that there shouldn’t be any more visitors. He didn’t want to do this with anyone else around. It didn’t seem right.

When he steps into the room, Steve is reading a book held easily in his right hand and looking for all the world like he hadn’t actually almost been ripped in half earlier this afternoon. There’s a thick layer of bandages around his torso and his right leg is in a cast up to his hip, but he doesn’t seem like he’s in pain.

He hadn’t expected Tony to be there, sprawled across him and clutching him in his sleep while Steve ran his fingers through his hair, but he isn’t surprised either. He’d heard Tony’s anguished screams through the comm earlier, when they’d all thought the worst. He doubted anyone had the heart to deny him this.

“Director Fury,” Steve said, looking up when he heard him enter. His words were a quiet echo in the empty room and his jaw was set tight, as if he had been prepping for Fury reaming him out all day.

“Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” the director asked. “You’ve had a very long day.”

Steve sighed, his eyes darting down to where Tony laid dozing on his shoulder. “Every time I close my eyes I hear-”

He cuts himself off before he can finish the sentence but Fury’s mind fills in the rest.

“Yeah, well, can you blame him?” he asked. “You gave us all a scare out there today.”

He’s silent for a bit before he responds, his eyes not moving from Tony. “I’m sorry that I directly disobeyed your orders sir, but I’m not sorry that I did it. If I hadn’t, innocent people would have died. If I had died saving them, I would have died proud. But if I had stood back and let them suffer, I would have never forgiven myself.”

And Fury doesn’t exactly know what he had been expecting. He’s Captain America, for God’s sake. Embodiment of all things good, wholesome, and decent. But he can’t quite stop his mouth from spitting out, “You love him, right?”

And it looks like the question shocks Steve nearly as much as it shocks Fury. A blush forms high in his cheeks as his gaze darts away from the director. “Of course I do.”

It’s been close to six months since the kissing incident, and they’re always so disgustingly in love everywhere they go, so Fury’s still confused why that’s the question he blurted out. It’s been a long day. It takes him a few minutes of silence to collect his thoughts.

“And how would you feel if he disobeyed my orders, did some stupid ass noble thing, and got himself killed?”

He frowns, but answers the question anyway. “I’d be devastated,” he says plainly. “But I couldn’t blame him for doing the right thing.”

Fury rolls his eye. Of course. “Well, you know, I know Stark pretty well and while you might handle it that way I’m pretty sure he’d drink himself into a coma if he was in that situation.”

Steve’s frown deepens and he pulls Tony closer. “And what’s your point, director?”

“My point is that this team can’t survive with one of you gone and they definitely can’t survive without two of you. So when I tell you to motherfucking stand down,” he says the words firmly, but his voice is barely above a whisper. He realizes too late that he sounds more like a father figure than a figure of authority. “You stand the fuck down. You understand me?”

Steve looks up at him and there’s a tiny grin on his face and affection in his eyes, which only makes Fury slightly uncomfortable. “Yes, sir.”

And he knows that he doesn’t mean it but that slightly uncomfortable feeling refuses to be capped and he finds himself awkwardly patting him on the shoulder and telling him “Rest up,” before he can stop himself.

He shuffles out into the hall quickly after that, not wanting to deal with this whole feeling thing anymore. This whole day had too much feeling in it and he honestly wonders when the hell that happened.

They were his assignment. They were a government project he was in charge of. He shouldn’t feel things. He shouldn’t be checking up on them outside of strict S.H.I.E.L.D business or care about one of them dying beyond having to replace them. Why does he care?

Somewhere in the back of his mind, a voice that sounds suspiciously like someone he used to know, pops up and says tauntingly, It’s because you like them. You don’t just care about the mission. You care about them. Remember how Stark used to call us Mom and Dad? Looks like you’re finally living up to the title…

Fury pushes the thought away with a grimace, coming to a dead halt in the middle of the hallway. He scowls up at the ceiling for a moment and grumbles, “Shut up, Phil,” before walking out in the cold night air. 

Epilogue:

“’Morning,” Tony mumbles into Steve’s shoulder as he begins to slowly wake up.

It’s been gloriously, ridiculously quiet ever since they brought Steve home from the infirmary two days ago. The other Avenger’s seemed to have realized that they’d need space after what had happened and decided to make themselves scarce.

Steve’s going on day three of bed rest and Tony’s surprised he hasn’t killed anyone yet. Steve’s never been a complainer but this whole being sedentary thing is driving him nuts. He’s never been so grateful for the Super Serum before, as if he had to do this for months he might just go insane.

He should be out of the cast by tomorrow and back in the gym by the end of the week. But in the mean time Tony hasn’t left his side for longer than a few hours at a time, something that had never happened before in their relationship. On one hand, it’s a little annoying because he really doesn’t need 24/7 supervision. And of course, that just makes him feel guilty because he knows Tony wouldn’t be doing this if Steve hadn’t scared him like he had. But on the other hand, he likes it. He loves being with Tony and they very rarely have the luxury of being able to have a conversation that lasts more than twenty minutes, so this is nice. In fact, it’s the only thing that makes bed rest tolerable.

 “Good morning,” Steve says in return. He’s been up for a while already but he didn’t want to wake Tony. He had been particularly tired the night before, passing out on Steve’s shoulder without his usual bedtime sexual innuendo.

“How long have you been up?” Tony asks because of course he knows.

“Awhile,” he murmurs in response, making a little noise of discontent as Tony peels away, presses a kiss to Steve’s temple, and rolls out of bed.

He’s disappointed that Tony’s heading towards the door already but not shocked. Steve’s actually more surprised that he’s gotten this much conversation out of him. Tony usually doesn’t function until he’s had at least two cups of coffee. 

Tony swings open the door and moves to walk out into the hall, opening his mouth to tell JARVIS to start the coffee maker, but is stopped dead in his tracks by the sounds and smells of people making breakfast.

He runs a heavy hand through his hair before he turns to Steve with a look of confusion.

“Do you hear that?” he asks, and a fond smile spreads across Steve’s face. He can’t help but find the fact that as smart as Tony is, he can’t manage anything even slightly complicated first thing in the morning endearing.

“Yeah,” he answers simply. “As quiet as they’ve been lately, other people do actually live here.”

Tony’s face doesn’t really show any real signs of recognition but he lets out a soft little ‘oh’ and walks out the door anyway. Everything seems pretty normal until he reaches the kitchen.

Tony blinks, once, twice, considers pinching himself, and does a double take but still remains unconvinced that the scene before him isn’t an illusion. 

One half of the kitchen is perfectly normal. Bruce, Natasha, and Clint are sitting around the kitchen table eating breakfast quietly. It’s a scene Tony’s witnessed plenty of times. But then he turns his head.

He squints, cocks his head, and listens really hard but his brain is working on maybe ten percent efficiency right now and he just can’t. Somewhere in the back of his head he realizes that he needs to bring food back to his poor, bedridden boyfriend but his confusion overrules whatever concern he may have.

He stumbles back up to their room where he’s promptly greeted with a grin and a “Back so soon?”

He just sort mentions behind his shoulder and mutters, “I think I’m hallucinating.”

Steve looks a bit concerned but mostly amused. Morning Tony has said much worse in the past.

“Oh yeah?” Steve asks, putting down the book he had been reading and pulling the covers on Tony’s side of the bed back in an invitation to join him.  Tony takes the invitation without further explanation.

Once he’s settled he lays his head back on Steve’s shoulder and says “I think I just saw Nick Fury. Teaching Thor how to use a toaster. In an apron.”

“Really?” Steve asks. Tony can tell by his tone of voice that he’s amused by Tony’s dreamland ramblings and he’d protest if he was sure what he saw wasn’t actually a dream. “It wasn’t my apron, was it?”

And now Tony knows he’s teasing him because he never brings up the Kiss the Cap apron unless he’s poking fun at him.

“No,” he says with a yawn. “It was pink. And frilly. I think it was that gag gift Clint got Bruce a while back.”

“You saw Director Fury in our kitchen wearing a frilly, pink apron?” Steve asks, practically laughing.

Tony responses with a weak, “Mmhmm,” and Steve knows he’ll be asleep within the next minute of two so he just shakes his head, presses a kiss to the top of Tony’s head, picks his book back up, and settles in for a lazy morning.

It’s quiet except for Tony’s light snores and it’s nice. He lets out one last chuckle at the thought of Nick Fury in an apron and settles in for exactly two and a half minutes before the door busts open, hitting the wall with a crack.

And lo and behold, Nick Fury is standing in the doorframe, holding a plate full of toaster strudel, and wearing a pink, frilly apron.

He levels Steve with a look and a nod, saying “Rogers,” before turning to were Tony lay, half awake from the commotion and curling into Steve’s side.

“Excuse me, Stark. But did you just see me and run the other way? You do realize that I am still your commanding officer, don’t you? And I was doing you a favor. The last time Thor tried to use a toaster he put a hole the size of your big ass head in the wall.”

Tony groans and presses his face into Steve’s neck. Steve honestly has no clue what to do in this situation. It’s just too bizarre.

“Five more minutes, mom,” Tony grumbles and Fury looks like he’s about to blow a gasket.

What did you just call me?” he yells.

Steve’s pretty sure that he should be confused or weirded out or angry or something. But really he’s just amused, mostly because this is just so ridiculous but also because he’s struck by an odd urge to call the director Mama Fury.

He doesn’t though because things are weird enough with Tony and him bickering like parent and child. So Steve decides to laugh because laughter just seems like the best option right now.