By PaBurke

Pairing # Joyce Summers / Nick Fury (Agent of SHIELD)

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, no money made, no copyright infringement intended.

Spoilers: Season Five of Buffy

Word Count: 500

She was sitting on his bed when he dragged himself home. Beautiful. Forlorn. The one and only person in his life that was not involved in SHIELD.

He had met her on accident. He had asked her out on a whim. He had fallen into her bed for solace. He had left her sleeping for duty.

He had called her up and asked her out a second time for the peace of her presence.

He had asked her out the third time because the first two times had been that good. He had sworn off her then.

He had asked her out the fourth time because he had watched Sabertooth rip three of his agents limb from limb.

He had given her the keys to his LA apartment because he needed her.

He had known that it would never last. It couldn't last. She didn't know what he did when they were apart. He couldn't tell her what he did for a living. He couldn't tell her that he knew more about her than she did. He couldn't tell her that he had protected her daughter the only way he knew how. He couldn't tell her that his protection had not been enough.

Now, Nick Fury knew that this was the end.

"Am I your mistress?" Joyce finally asked.

Nick was surprised by the question. "No." Technically that was the truth. "There is no other woman."

Joyce tilted her head and watched him for signs of lying. She wouldn't find any; he was too well trained. But some people had an instinct that they didn't ignore. "But?"

Fury put his keys on his dresser. "Work." She deserved as honest an answer as he could offer.

"Who do you fight, Brian?"

Part of him winced. Why had he given her that name? Oh yeah, because he had thought that it would only be a one-time deal. "Fight?" He had told her that he was a military consultant. Consultants, most consultants don't fight.

"Brian, look at me." Nick did. She eyed him. What did she see? "I know you fight something, someone. Whose side are you on?"

Fool me twice. The mother of the Slayer had seen all the signs in him. She had seen them before. Nick sat down beside the woman he… had a relationship with. "I'm on the right side, Joyce."

"Who do you fight, Brian?"

To answer, or to not answer? To tell the truth or not? Would she keep coming back if she knew the truth? "Mutants."

She paused. Fearful. He realized that many would consider her daughter a mutant. He realized that in a competition between him and her daughter, her daughter would always win. "I've made sure that we'll never touch her," he said. Had he said too much?

She nodded slowly. Still fearful. She stood. "I need to think."

He nodded. He had expected it.

She stepped close and kissed his cheek.

She left.

Had he just sliced the rope to his only anchor?