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Had a bit of dialogue pop into my head during a shower and I sat down to write this after I got out. Wholly unedited. Beware tense shifts. Bonus points for understanding the TV show reference.

Now, have some Tony and Fury at an alternate end to the first Iron Man film.

The lights were already on when Tony walked through the door. Not necessarily unusual, but some recently awakened instinct of danger cautioned him to keep close attention to his surroundings.

As he slowly stepped further into the entryway, Tony had half a second to think of calling JARVIS before a loud, familiar voice echoed from the living room: "Your uncle would like to see you." A dramatic flair of music followed the line and soon a theme song straight out of the 1960's filled the air.

Tony scowled in annoyance, his danger-tension reverting to frustrated-tension. He marched into the living room and came to a stop on the edge of the sunken area. "That joke was old before I was born," he accused as he glared at the man lounging on his couch. "What do you want, Nick?"

Nicholas Fury contrasted sharply against the white couch with his head-to-toe dramatic black attire. He tilted his head Tony's way, a smirk curving his lips.

"J, cut the static," Tony snapped.

The TV cut off on the image of the show's title screen. Fury said, "You used to giggle over the terrible plots while reinventing every gadget they used."

"Yeah? Children are dumb," Tony retorted as he walked closer. He crossed his arms and did his best to loom over Fury. Even though the other man sat in a relaxed sprawl against the cushions, it didn't seem like Tony was managing the looming very well. Maybe because he was still dealing with some major bruises underneath his pressed suit.

Fury arched an eyebrow as he looked up at Tony with his uncovered eye. "Surprised you stuck to the cards."

"Yeah, well, clearly your Agent Bland put a lot of effort into his project. I know how effective your disappointed glower can be on some people, seemed a shame to let such a nice boy like that deal with it."

With a snort, Fury replied, "Coulson has never been cowed anyone. Why the hell do you think he was assigned to you?"

Tony's jaw clenched for a moment and his gaze darted away. He didn't meet Fury's eye again. "I noticed you fobbed me off onto someone. Why make an appearance now?"

Fury shifted from his sprawl to sit up a little straighter. "Figured you wanted space, considering how you didn't call me as soon as you had access to a phone."

Tony threw his hands up in exasperation and fixed Fury with a glare. "Why the hell would I call? What the hell did you care about my disappearance? I'm sure the company kept on supplying you." Before the other man could say anything, Tony leaned in and asked lowly, shoulders so tense he felt like shaking, "Did SHIELD know? Did you have any inkling Ob— about the double-dealing?"

Although Tony knew full well how much Fury lied, at the moment he wasn't sure whether he wanted the truth or a lie. Fury didn't pull his punches. He leaned forward and met Tony's glare with a steady stare. "Black Market weapons dealing is nothing new, Tony. We had watch on some avenues. I did not know about Stane." Something dark, a more personal emotion, crossed Fury's face.

Tony nodded sharply before pacing away. He let out a quiet, shuddering breath as he stared blindly out the windows. He wasn't sure he could have handled finding out about another betrayal.

Long minutes of silence passed before Fury spoke again. "You did good." The quiet praise made Tony flinch, even though a tiny part of him warmed at the acknowledgment.

"I don't need your approval," he muttered.

"I suppose not." Tony heard the creak of leather as Fury stood up. "Your aunt would like to see you, alive and well."

Tony's mouth went dry. He took a careful breath against the pain in his chest that had nothing to do with his new accessory. He wanted to dismiss the comment, ignore it with a flippant quip. Instead he asked, "How is she?"

"It's becoming more noticeable. Probably less than a year before she should move into a 'home."


"Honest opinion? You're running out a chances to find her lucid." Fury paused, but Tony didn't say anything else. "She wants to see you before she starts losing more time. We know you're not going near her when she starts seeing How—"

"I'll make time," Tony interrupted. He cleared his throat, hating that he had to blink his eyes clear before he turned around. He pulled up a haughty expression. "Is that all? Or did you plan to stay for dinner?"

Fury gazed back at him impassively.

"Director Fury, your ride is landing," JARVIS announced. Tony slanted his gaze to the windows and saw the movement of a helicopter before it was close enough to hear through the structure's insulation.

"I'm leaving you some proposed projects Stark Industries could take on for non-weaponry contracts with SHIELD." Fury gestured to the coffee table and a small stack of folders. He turned to head for the door and started walking. Tony didn't say anything. They'd never been big on goodbyes. A few steps from the door, Fury half-turned. He didn't quite look over his shoulder as he said, "I'm glad you're home, Tony." Sounding like an afterthought, he added, "The number still works."

Tony waited until Fury was nearly out the door. "Bye, Nick."

He stood still until he heard the helicopter leaving several minutes later.