Theme 1 – Dance

Pairing: Maria Hill x Nick Fury

Nick Fury was wary as he answered the phone. He knew that getting a call from Tony Stark was a sign that hell was about to freeze over, let alone an invite for him and 'Whoever tickles your fancy' to attend an event at the Stark/Avengers tower.

"Everyone's going," Tony had told him, "even Thor's agreed to come visit."

"Fine." Fury said gruffly, "what does this...event entail?"

"Nothing much, just music, civilized intoxication and dancing." Fury could hear Tony's grin from the other end of the phone line. "Probably not in that order. Steve's insisting that the dancing come before the intoxication."

"Fine." Fury repeated, "I'll be there."

"With a date…"
"With a date."

"Who can dance." Tony specified.

Fury bade Tony farewell and hung up the phone line. He sighed heavily, wondering who in the world he was going to take to this…event. He didn't have a girlfriend or partner, there wasn't really anyone he liked. Well, not anyone he was allowed to like anyway. S.H.I.E.L.D. policy forbid Agents from dating, and also forbid any relationships within the chain of command, not that it had stopped Agents Barton and Coulson, but Fury wasn't sure if Barton counted as S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel anymore, since he was also an Avenger.

Finally, after about twenty minutes of vicious internal debate, Fury gave up and called Agent Hill into his office. He stood as she entered and returned her salute.

"At ease, Agent Hill." He said, "Have a seat."

"Thank-you Director." She said, sitting in the chair in front of his desk. Fury remained standing, pacing back and forth. He didn't speak for a few moments, not knowing how to begin.

"Director Fury, am I in trouble?" Hill asked, her eyes curious as she looked up at him.

"No!" Fury said, perhaps a little vehemently, "No, nothing like that." He calmed slightly, "Stark is holding a function," He explained, "and I was wondering if you would accompany me?" He asked her.

"Uhhh.." She looked a little confused.

"Let me put this another way." Fury rephrased, "Do you dance, Agent Hill?"

"Yes, Sir." She nodded.

"Well then, I would be very pleased if you would join me at Stark's function."

"Of course Sir." She nodded, "Is that all?"

"Yes." HE nodded, "dismissed."

Hill saluted and Fury retuned the salute, before flopping back at his desk. He felt like a fool, but inside he was excited.

A few days later

They had agreed that Fury would pick Hill up from her place, and then they would drive to Stark's. Fury arrived exactly on time at Hill's house, and knocked on the door. A smiling nine year old opened it.

"Hi!" He said.

"Hello." Fury said, slightly bemused, he hadn't known she had kids. All he really knew was that she was single, and he liked her. That and she was an excellent soldier and second in command. He pulled himself together, "Is your mother in?"

"Just a minute." The boy vanished, "Mom!" he called into the house.

Hill appeared a few moments later, giving instructions over her shoulder to a teenaged girl. "..And remember Claire, I want Michael in bed by nine; you can stay up until ten, but no games and no internet, okay?"

"Yes Mom." Claire rolled her eyes, "have fun, don't get drunk." She added in a softer voice, "and make sure you get kissed!" She added in a louder whisper so Fury could hear, before grinning and closing the door.

Hill smiled and smoother down her dress. It was neat and red, reaching to just past her knees. He brown hair was loose, reaching to just past her shoulders, and she looked beautiful. She followed Fury to the car, and smiled when he opened the passenger door.

"Thank-you." She said softly, brushing hair out of her eyes.

They drove in silence for a while.

"Sir, should I address you as director Fury, or…" Hill trailed off, unwilling to finish.

"Call me Nick," Fury half-smiled, "we are off duty after all."

"It's only fair then that you call me Maria." Maria smiled, blushing only slightly. She wasn't sure why she was doing this, agreeing do go to this…function of Stark's with a superior officer, but it felt right. She knew she would be upset later that Fury would never feel for her in the way she did for him, but she could let herself have this, surely.

They arrived at Stark tower and went in the lift all the way up to the top floor. The lift doors opened, and Fury offered Maria his arm as they stepped out. The top floor of the tower had been transformed. Most of the space was taken up by an empty area to be used as a dance floor, there were benches laden with food and drinks around the edges of the room, and music was coming from…somewhere.

"Fury, Ms. Hill, glad you could make it." Tony called, crossing the room, beaming. He gave Fury an enthusiastic hug – which the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent did not appreciate – and kissed Maria on the cheek, "come in, we're just waiting on the gods and the girls."

They found Bruce, Clint, Coulson and Steve sitting at one of the benches. They were in the midst of greeting each other when the elevator opened again and Natasha, along with a slightly flustered Pepper who was smoothing her dress and patting her hair anxiously, entered. They received a similar treatment – albeit slightly more cautious where Natasha was concerned – as Fury and Maria, then wandered over to join the party.

They'd been socializing for about ten minutes when there was a whooshing noise and Thor and Loki appeared in a heap in the middle of the dance floor. Loki picked himself up and dusted himself down, Thor springing to his feet beside him.

"My friends!" He boomed, racing forward to embrace them. Loki smiled, slightly embarrassed by his brother's antics and joined them at the bench.

"Bruce," Pepper enquired, as everyone else was swept up in the chaos of the two god's arrival, "I thought you were bringing Dansk."

Brice shook his head. "He was going to come, but with Fury here, not to mention Thor, Loki, Agents Hill and Coulson, you can imagine…."He sighed, "Some other time perhaps. He's anxious to meet you all."

Pepper smiled and patted Bruce's arm comfortingly.

Tony joined them, "Dr. Banner," He said, trying to be formal, "The music if you please?"

Bruce nodded and headed into the 'music corner' as Tony had jokingly named it. Basically it was a stereo and a pile of CD's, but it had been left to Bruce to choose the music.

Tony got everyone's attention, and the couples took their places around the dance floor. A light, energetic tune struck up, and the dancing began.

Maria looked around the room, surprised at a few of the couples. Tony was dancing with Steve; she had figured as much, you could've sense the sexual tension between them from day one. More surprising to her was Thor and Loki, but then again, the rules in Asgard were probably different. She nodded inwardly when she caught a glimpse of Natasha and Pepper together, they would be good for each other, she knew. On the same note, she wasn't surprised at Clint and Coulson together; she had thought something like this was on the way for a while now. She hoped things worked out with them. She felt a twinge of regret seeing Bruce along at the stereo, pity even. She knew he was dating someone, someone called Dansk, and that this Dansk was a he, but that was it.

They danced various dances for around two hours, before Bruce set the music to auto play and they decided to have a break. That break quickly turned into the 'civilized intoxication' that Tony had mentioned on the phone. Although, civilized was perhaps not the right word for it.

Tony was sitting on Steve's lap, busy trying to remove his boyfriend's T-shirt whilst giving him several large hickeys. Steve was blushing furiously.

Thor and Loki were in a shadowy corner, and Maria wasn't sure she wanted to know what they were up to. She decided she would let her mind fill in the blanks.

Bruce had vanished somewhere, possibly downstairs to sneak into one of Tony's labs. Smart. He wouldn't have to deal with the chaos up here.

Natasha and Pepper were busily making out on the sofa, Natasha sneaking one hand into the top of Pepper's dress. Not that Pepper was complaining, mind.

In the armchair near the windows, Clint and Coulson were the calmest of the couples really, just cuddling together, although Maria was fairly sure that Clint was either asleep or passed out, but she didn't want to interrupt a tender moment and so refrained from going to find out

Fury joined her at the opposite end of the window to the lovers, handing his a glass of champagne.

"Thank-you, Sir." She said, still a little too awkward to use his first name. She took a sip and gazed out of the window, "Tell me sir," She said, turning to face him, "Why, out of all the agents at S.H.I.E.L.D. did you choose me for this?" She indicated the room, the dance floor, the couples and themselves.

Internally, Fury grimaced. He's known this moment would come, and had been spending half the evening trying to figure out what he would say. Nick Fury was a brave man, he had faced countless threats, not all of them from his planet, but the prospect of declaring his feelings to a woman was the most terrifying thing he had ever tried to do. He decided to just say the truth.

"You're not like them." He said, "You're smart, a good soldier, and a wonderful person. You always have a comment, and you're not afraid to share it. Most people would say that's a fault, but not me. I see it as something to treasure. You're kind, and dependable and beautiful Maria, and what I really want to say is, I invited you here tonight because I was selfish. I knew I could never have you and that you wouldn't ever want ,e, but I tried to kid myself, just for a few hours that we could ever be together. But I guess I was-"

He was cut off by Maria grabbing his tie, pulling him in and kissing him full on the mouth. They kissed for a long while, Maria's arms snaking up around Fury's neck and his ending up about her waist. When they parted, a little breathless, there was applause from across the room. The blushed and looked around, to see Tony applauding.

"My my, Director Fury," He slurred, swaying slightly, "Such scandal!" Steve grimaced .

"I think it's time you got some sleep." He told Tony firmly, wrapping an arm around him and leading him away, throwing a smile over his shoulder to Fury and Maria.

They left the party soon after, Fury dropping Maria off with a light kiss and the promise of dinner the next weekend.

"Sooo," Said Claire, looking up from the kitchen table where she was doing algebra, "did you get kissed mom?"

Maria dropped her handbag on the hall table and stepped out her high heels.

"Yes," She smiled wistfully, "As a matter of fact, I did."