This is an Avengers/Agents of SHIELD crossover more in the AOS-verse. Not a "Very Good Team" story, because I brought Phil back in a different way.

Perfect Gentleman

Phil Coulson with his empty pistol ran from two men carrying automatic rifles.

He knew he was being herded, but couldn't do anything about it. Worse, he had an innocent (mostly innocent) civilian (semi-civilian) with him.

He and Skye were in deep trouble and it was his fault. He was supposed to be the background character, manager of the young starlet, but he was recognized by some thug he didn't recognize himself. There were too many things he didn't remember these days, he thought darkly.

He didn't know where the rest of his team was. Last he saw, his backup was pinned down by machine gun fire from these henchmen who kept pouring out of the brickwork.

Phil had taken out four with the pistol he'd taken off the first henchman who foolishly tried to capture him. Now they were just trying to kill him — much simpler.

He pushed the girl ahead of him. Skye stumbled over the rough ground in the high-heeled white boots of her failed disguise. Phil caught her arm and yanked her upright.

"Keep moving!"

"There's nowhere to go!"

They had turned into what proved to be a blind alley with no cover, not even a flimsy cardboard box. Footsteps thundered behind them.

Phil threw the girl in the corner where two walls met and covered her body with his own. It was a forlorn hope, but maybe they would be satisfied with his death.

Footsteps crunched on grimy gravel, then there was a rush of air from above, a thud and a vibrant clang.

One rifle rattled its death song, but it was answered by an almost musical chiming. Shots deflected all around. Pieces of brick spattered Phil's legs. Skye flinched.

Behind them, came a choked cry, then another thud.

Coulson felt a presence looming at his back, but he wasn't afraid, because he recognized that musical sound.

He wasn't afraid, but he was a little nervous.

"Agent Coulson?" the expected voice said.

Coulson turned to see the expected face with no cowl to conceal it. The uniform was dark navy, the star a subdued silver, but the red, white and blue shield was unchanged.

"Our mission was blown," Coulson said urgently. "The rest of my team …"

"Is safe with my team," his rescuer answered, tapping the earpiece he wore. "All present and accounted for," he reassured the agent.

"OMG, you're Captain America!" Skye exclaimed, peeking under the agent's arm.

Phil was not unwilling to put off the difficult conversation to come. "Captain Rogers, this is Skye. Skye, Captain Steve Rogers."

"Miss," Steve said, extending his hand.

She took it and shook it with a dumbfounded expression.

Steve turned his attention to Coulson. "Nice to see you again, agent."

Coulson flinched at the cold "agent." He was in so much trouble. He cleared his throat.

"I can't help but notice that you don't seem surprised to see me."

"No." There was a flicker of a smile on the solemn face. "Remember, I hang around with two professional snoops and one ridiculously talented amateur. Maybe you know their names?"

"Barton, Romanoff, Stark?" Phil guessed — it wasn't much of a stretch. "Does Fury know you know?"

Cap chuckled. "Who knows what Fury knows, you know?" His blue eyes twinkled.

Skye was about to say something clever about not expecting Captain America to have a sense of humor, but when she stepped away from the wall, she cried out in pain. She staggered and Cap caught her arm to support her. "Are you all right?" he asked.

She turned her leg to see blood oozing from a tear in her white, knee-high boots.

"Must have been hit by a flying piece of brick," Cap said. "I'm sorry. I couldn't block all the ricochets."

"No, hey, don't apologize," Skye said, trying for nonchalant, though her voice was pitched just a trifle high for conviction. "Much better than a hail of bullets in the back, right?"

She stumbled again when she put her foot down. Cap steadied her.

"I … I don't know if I can walk," the girl admitted.

Coulson's lip twitched in amusement. "I'm pretty sure she just wants you to carry her, Cap."

Skye gave him a fierce look for spoiling her plot.

Cap looked back and forth, then suddenly smiled. His genuine mirth made him look years younger. Skye thought she could melt from that smile, or maybe drown in those blue eyes. Then she "eeped" when Cap swept her into his arms.

"My mother brought me up to be a gentleman," he said.

Wide-eyed, Skye looked over his broad shoulder at Coulson. "Oh … My … God!" she mouthed silently.

Coulson just shook his head and followed Captain America past the two gunmen, both unconscious and neatly zip-tied hand and foot.

"So, not that I don't appreciate the rescue, because I really do, but where did you come from?" Skye asked her transportation.

"The roof," Cap answered.

She looked up — three stories with no fire escapes or ledges. "Wow!"

"Was there a part of 'super soldier' you didn't understand, Skye?" Coulson asked.

She made a face at him over Cap's shoulder. "I thought you'd be more angry at AC."


"Agent Coulson," Skye explained.

Steve turned to give Phil a look. The agent shrugged. "She's a computer hacker. Half of what she says is in initials."

Steve looked at Skye. "You know — BFF, OMG, LOL," she explained. "Or maybe you don't, being from 1940," she apologized.

Cap smirked at her. "I'm pretty sure we invented acronyms during World War II."

"They've been around here and there for centuries," history buff Coulson corrected. "But they became common during World War II and that, in fact, is when the word 'acronym' was invented."

"So, now that we've settled this SNAFU of yours, let's get you back to your BFFs before they declare you AWOL," Cap said.

Skye giggled. She'd expected the muscles, but not the wit.

She daringly wrapped her arms around Cap's neck — for balance, of course. "Anyway, I was saying, I thought you'd be more angry at Agent Coulson. But you haven't punched him or yelled or even frowned hard."

"I …" Cap frowned then, but not at the girl in his arms. He tapped his earpiece.

"We're on our way back. Miss Skye has a minor leg wound, otherwise they're fine." He listened for a moment. "No, I haven't said anything. I promised I wouldn't, Tony. Right, see you in a few minutes."

"Is that Tony Stark? He's here?" Skye asked breathlessly. "This is too cool."

Cap smiled at her fan-girling.

Then it came to Skye that she was drooling over one guy (she totally loved him for his mind) while in the gorgeously muscled arms of another man. That was not cool.

She cleared her throat. "So, my question?"

"Why haven't I punched Agent Coulson? I told you I was raised to be a gentleman."

"I don't follow," Skye admitted.

Steve gave Phil a sidelong look. "A gentleman believes in 'ladies first.'"

Skye saw her unflappable boss miss a step. "Romanoff," he said with trepidation.

"Who?" Skye asked.

"You'd know her as the Black Widow," Coulson answered. "Think Melinda May with red hair and swearing in Russian."

"So she'll kick your ass," Skye translated.

"She would — if that was the redhead I was talking about," Cap said.

This time Coulson went pale and stopped walking entirely.

"You don't mean …"

Cap inclined his head in confirmation.

"… Potts," Coulson breathed.

Skye knew that name. She would admit that she was a little bit of a Stark groupie (OK, maybe a lot). Come on — handsome, heroic, rich, computer genius — her wildest dream come true. But being a realistic girl, Skye knew that Stark had a companion, his CEO and girlfriend, Pepper Potts.

But why would calm-under-fire Phil Coulson be more afraid of Stark's girlfriend than an alien-killing Avenger?

Cap turned toward an auto repair shop — the designated rallying point. Coulson hesitated visibly, when the garage door began to rise. Cap didn't even look back. "Suck it up, soldier. Time to face the music."

Coulson straightened his shoulders and stiffened his spine.

Skye saw her team standing with the Avengers. Tony Stark, in his armor but without his faceplate, stood near the front of the group with his hands on the shoulders of a well-dressed businesswoman who was wielding the most potent weapon in a woman's arsenal — tears. They ran down her cheeks unchecked.

Coulson swallowed, then went forward to greet her.

Now Skye understood.

Pepper grabbed Coulson and hugged him hard enough to break ribs.

"We thought you were dead. You let us think you were dead," she sobbed, happy, sad and furious all at once. The emotional battering was worse than any butt kicking.

He patted her back and made soothing noises while everyone watched uncomfortably.

Cap turned away and carried Skye to the medics. She could feel the tension in his muscles. "You are mad, aren't you?" she said quietly. "You shouldn't blame Coulson, you know. It wasn't his call. He was in a coma or something."

"I'm not mad at Coulson," Steve said, emphasizing the agent's name. "When I first met Pepper Potts after the battle, when she realized I was the original Captain America — 'flash frozen at the peak of freshness,' Stark said…"

Skye giggled.

Steve continued, "… The first thing Pepper said was, 'Captain America? Phil must be over the moon. He's a big fan. Have you met Phil Coulson?' It was the last thing I expected and I couldn't hide my reaction. Then Tony had to tell her and she cried. Every time she saw me she remembered and tears filled her eyes. She tried to tell me it wasn't my fault, but I felt like it was."

"That sucks," Skye said sympathetically. She found herself rubbing Cap's shoulder comfortingly, which should have seemed ridiculous, but didn't, now that she knew Steve Rogers. "But she got over it, right?"

"Eventually," Cap admitted. "We're good friends now." He smiled. "We've bonded over trying to keep Tony in line."

"That's why Tony Stark is my idol," Skye said. "He thinks outside the box."

"Boxes are for breakfast cereal, not minds," said that so-familiar Stark voice. He had come up behind Cap, trailed by two overawed young scientists and Skye's supervising officer.

"Shouldn't you be with Pepper?" Steve asked.

"I'm allergic to tears," Tony said, as if it was gospel truth.

Skye regarded her teammates. "Shouldn't you guys be with Coulson?" she said severely.

"Ditto, tears," Leo Fitz said with a shudder.

"Anyway, May's got him," Grant Ward added.

"And we wanted to see if you were all right," Jemma Simmons said worriedly.

"Speaking of which, Cap, shouldn't you be putting her down?" Tony asked, wiggling his eyebrows salaciously.

Steve realized the medics were hovering and he was just standing there, carrying on a conversation while holding the girl in his arms. She hardly weighed more than a fly to the super soldier. He flushed and set Skye gently on the gurney.


"Don't apologize. It was fun," Skye said with a smirk that reminded Steve of Stark. "Thanks for the rescue, Captain Rogers," Skye said formally.

"Any time, Miss Skye," Steve answered.

"Don't say that," Fitz warned.

"She's bound to take you up on it, captain," Simmons said.

Ward just rolled his eyes.

Steve gave Skye a small salute, then he and Tony went back to Coulson and the other Avengers.

"That looked very cozy," Simmons said to Skye.

"What was Captain America like, then?" Fitz asked.

"He was a perfect gentleman," Skye answered primly.

A/N: Next week, a non-Team Avengers story called "What's in a Name."