TITLE: Another Beginning
SUMMARY: Riley’s resignation isn’t as permanent as he thinks.
NOTES: Set after “Chosen”, Seventh Entry in the August Fic-A-Day Challenge at Twisted Shorts
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Angel the Series, they belong to Fox, the WB/UPN, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc. The characters of Stargate: SG1 belong to Gekko Film Corp, MGM, the Sci-fi Channel, etc. The ideas and concepts in this story are mine entirely. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
The bar was practically empty at three in the afternoon. The lunch crowd had long since left and the happy hour crowd wasn’t due for an hour at the earliest. The bar’s only patron, a good-looking brunet in his mid-twenties, sat off to the side keeping away from the center of the room. He sat with his back to the wall, angling himself so he could see everyone that entered.
The door opened, allowing a bit of sunlight and a middle-aged man in a leather coat into the dimmed interior. The man at the counter shot him a quick glance and tensed slightly. The bartender didn’t catch the reaction, but the man did.
“What can I get for you?” the bartender asked as the man made his way to the bar.
“Whatever you’ve got that’s cold,” was the man’s reply.
A cold beer bottle appeared on the bar and the bartender wandered off, going back to restocking for the evening rush. The newcomer walked over to stand next to the seated patron.
“Is this seat taken?” he asked.
“Depends on whether you’re here to drink or talk,” came the slightly slurred response.
“A little of both to be honest. I’m Colonel Jack O’Neill,” the middle-aged man introduced himself.
The younger man looked him over before shrugging. It was all the invitation Col. O’Neill was going to get. He slid onto the bar stool next to the young man.
“So, what do you want to talk about, Colonel?” the man asked.
“I’m here to offer you a job, Agent Finn,” he explained, carefully watching the younger man.
“I’m not interested.” Riley finished the rest of his beer with a few large swigs. He slammed the bottle down on the bar and gestured to the bartender. Another cold bottle appeared a few moments later and the empty one removed.
“You haven’t even heard the job description.”
“My wife was murdered right in front of me eleven days ago, Col. O’Neill. Eleven days ago I resigned from anything and everything military.” Riley met Jack’s gaze, letting the older man see the raw pain evident in his soul.
Jack nodded, and frowned slightly. “My son died, he um…” Jack trailed off and cleared his throat, but he didn’t drop Riley’s gaze. “He shot himself with my gun. My life was over as far as I was concerned. I was given a second chance at life when I took this latest job. It changed my life – gave me something to fight for. I’d like to give you the same opportunity I was given.”
“What is so great about your program, Colonel? What makes you even think it would interest me?” Riley asked, knocking back a good portion of his latest beer.
“It’s top secret, highly classified information and we get to save the world a lot,” Jack offered with a small shrug and a smile. “But the part that lured me in was the extremely high probability of death. But after that first mission I found a new purpose and here I am,” Jack added. “I don’t expect an answer right now, but I wanted to open the channels of communication. We’d love to have you, Finn.”
Moments passed as Riley stared at his bottle. Finally he sighed and looked back over at the Colonel, “I’m not interested, not yet… I’m not looking to die, but I may be willing to reconsider,” Riley finished.
Jack nodded and put a comforting hand on Riley’s shoulder. “That’s more than I was hoping for,” he chuckled. He rose to his feet and tossed a $10 bill on the bar next to his beer. He pulled a plain business card out of his jacket pocket and slid it across the bar to Riley. “Call me when you get bored on the outside,” Jack instructed him and walked back out of the bar.