Trailblazers

By paburke

Cross: Avengers (post movie), SG1 (post tv show)

The awards ceremony for saving the world was dramatically smaller than the politicians would have liked but much larger than the recipients would have preferred. Since most of the team's identities were classified, Fury had some control over the guest list. Steve still felt lost and bewildered as person after person introduced themselves.

"You're doing fine," Natasha reassured him. "Clint's not even trying to remember names and Tony's trying to start a fight." She, of course, looked stunning in her sparkly green dress and could remember everyone's name. Though knowing the spy, she probably had memorized the dossiers of all attendees as soon as they were included on the invite list.

Steve looked longingly where Bruce and Dr. Foster were holding court with a bunch of scientists. He could probably stand next to Thor, but the thunder god was seemingly amused by watching his lady love hold her own. (Steve sometimes wondered just how much more the alien understood than he let on, but respected his privacy.)

So Steve hid.

He wasn't proud of it, but he heaved a sigh of relief when he found a well-hidden door to the balcony. He looked up at the clear night sky and identified several of the constellations. Someone cleared their throat. Steve whirled and saw a silver-haired, Air Force general in the corner. He had barged in on someone else's hiding place.

"You can stay," the general told him with a wry grin. "I don't mind." And Steve realized that he should have spotted the older man, but he had stayed as still as a spy, disappearing in the shadows. He had a lot of medals on his chest and he too was hiding from the politicians.

Unlike all of the other attendees, Steve wanted to know more about his man. He held out his hand, "Steve Rogers."

"Jack O'Neill, with two L's," was the reply. "So you like the stars?"

"Yes." It was one thing that hadn't changed from his childhood, through the war and now seventy years later.

"Got a telescope?"

"No." The more he thought about it, the more Steve liked the idea. "Not yet."

"Make a good investment," O'Neill advised. "And you need a spot outside of the city to avoid the light pollution."

"Where's your spot?" Steve asked. He turned to look at the general when he didn't answer immediately.

"Colorado's my preferred location, but I'm stuck in DC until further notice."

Steve nodded, enjoying the lull in the conversation.

"Sir?" a woman's voice carried softly.

"Here, Carter," the general answered.

The woman, a coronel Steve noticed, joined them. "Sirs," she nodded to first O'Neill and then to Steve.

"Got bored of your science talk already, Carter?" and it took a moment to realize that O'Neill was teasing the woman.

"Never, sir. We should hire Dr. Foster."

"Take it up with HR. Can you get her to say yes?"

The woman looked embarrassed. "I am, apparently, old enough to be her scientific idol. She would likely agree to a collaboration."

"You're a rock star, Carter. Didja know?"

"Yes, sir. I did." And now the woman was teasing him back. She sobered quickly. "We're being recalled to base, sir. Something's up."

"Something's afoot?" O'Neill pushed away from the balcony ledge. "Then let us be off, Doctor! It was nice meeting you, Rogers. Maybe we can hide out together again, some time."

"Nice meeting you, sir," Steve told him. The light caught on the general's medals and Steve realized that nestled in the middle of O'Neill's fruit salad was the same 'Saving the World' medal that he had just been awarded. Steve twisted his head to see Carter's medals and yes, she had earned it too. When Steve looked at their faces, he identified a sort of solemn acknowledgement in their eyes.

"See you around, Captain."

And to Steve, it sounded like a promise from a dependable friend.