Taking the InitiativeAuthor:
peripheral canon of Buffy/RileySummary:
Buffy and Jack meet up after the Initiative fiasco.Disclaimer:
People other than me own anything recognizable.Word Count:
This is stuck in my head. I don't know if there will be more to it or not. As it stands, it is complete. Thanks to hellbells for reading through this and shutting me down when I get too cocky. ^.^
Colonel Jack O'Neill – two 'L's, thank you very much! – sat in the makeshift debriefing room, across from a young woman. Small, blonde and very weary-looking. He had seen the videos – he didn't really need to as he already knew she could hold her own in a fight, despite looking like a stiff wind would blow her over – and the carnage could have been so much worse if she hadn't come. He couldn't believe how a project like the Initiative could have slipped so far under the radar, but he was rather glad that this girl had been there to put an end to it when it got out of hand. If there was any civilian he would trust in this situation, it was Buffy Anne Summers.
“Hello, Buffy,” he began, much to the surprise of the Initiative officers watching through a live feed.
“Hello, Jack,” was the blonde's reply, and that stunned those same officers. Jack smirked at her and told her that Colonel McNamara and some of his stooges were watching them. She laughed.
“Well now, Buffy. I don't know why you didn't call me when the Army got involved here in the first place.”
“Well, they weren't Air Force, so I figured you wouldn't have anything to do with them. So, Jack... why are you here? You know, being Air Force and all.”
“I'm one of the officers tasked to debrief everyone on this project and give my recommendation about closing the program down or letting it fly.”
Buffy's jaw gaped open unattractively for a brief moment. “You mean, they might still be in business? Even after they built Mr Frankendemon? Do you know
how many people he killed, Jack? I heard that he killed a little boy
just to see how he was put together! And McNamara, the ass, tried to keep us out when we came here to put a stop to the freakshow!”
Jack's eyes had narrowed dangerously when she mentioned the little boy, and she recalled him telling her once about Charlie. She felt bad for reminding him but that was the worst thing Adam had done in her book.
Jack and Buffy finished their discussion of the Initiative and its prospects – from Buffy's point of view, Jack couldn't say anything more about why he was there or what he would recommend when he was done – and she gave him a hug as she got ready to go. He promised to find her before he left, and she invited him for dinner that night. Joyce was out of town, but there was good food to be had still.
Riley Finn was rather angry. His girlfriend never told him she had such high connections, after all. Not only that, but she was ditching him to spend time with the Air Force Colonel who showed up to disband his old unit. He hadn't gotten a chance to speak to the man himself yet; but Buffy fairly bounced out of the interview room, chatting with the older man like he wasn't the
Jack O'Neill, black ops legend. When he finally got her to himself again, he questioned her.
“How come you never told me you know Colonel O'Neill?” he demanded.
“Jack? I didn't know it was such a big deal to know him,” she replied, confused but also very obviously distracted. Riley fumed; she was probably thinking about Jack
“Are you kidding? The man is a legend
, Buff! Just his name could open doors that would otherwise remain closed!” Something about his tone bothered Buffy, but she couldn't quite put her metaphorical finger on it.
“Really? He's that good?”
Riley was incredulous. “Yes, Buffy. He is that good
. How do you know him, anyway?”
Ah, there it was. His tone of voice registered with her now. Riley was jealous of Jack. Jack
, of all people! “I met Jack in L.A., a couple of years ago. Saved him from a couple of vamps. Ri, why does me knowing Jack bother you?” she asked warily. She didn't know what it was, but something
had upset her honey.
Riley couldn't believe her. First, she knew the nightlife better than him. Then she and her normal, civilian
friends were better at taking the HSTs down. Then she was stronger than him and didn't need him to save her. Now she had better connections than him, and she didn't even realize what she had!
“I'm sorry, Buff. I have to go. Debriefings going on all day, you know,” he said, beating a hasty retreat. Buffy just stared after him.
“What just happened?” she asked softly.
Buffy really couldn't cook, so she was glad that her mom had frozen some casseroles for while she was gone. She followed the directions her mom left for heating it up and made sure the house was clean. Jack should be there any minute. He'd called about twenty minutes prior, and she'd been rushing around since. She hadn't seen him since they parted ways in Los Angeles, and it was great to have time to catch up. She'd taken to him almost instantly, and he, in turn, became very protective of her. They talked a couple times a month, when he wasn't busy, but neither had been able to get out to the other. She knew he'd come out of retirement just after getting back to Colorado after leaving her, and he knew she had to blow up her high school to kill the demon Mayor snake. She knew he'd been doing some work that was so classified nearly nobody knew what it was, he knew she was going to college and patrolling the Hellmouth. It wasn't necessarily a fair trade of information, but she understood. The doorbell rang just as she straightened the last of the clutter in the living room. She pulled it open and stood aside so he could enter.
“How was the rest of your day, Buffy?” Jack asked, following her into the kitchen where something smelled good
. “And when did you learn how to cook?”
Buffy laughed. “I didn't. Mom left food for me. She always does if she's going to be gone more than a day. And it was... weird. Riley started acting different as soon as he found out you were my friend.”
Jack considered that. Could Riley be looking to climb the ladder by knowing the right people? If so, Buffy was definitely one of 'the right people' to know. Especially now. He wondered if she knew her clearance was nearly as high as his now. And his recommendation on her and her people? Keep them in the rolodex. You never knew when you could use the assistance.
“Well, kiddo. Let's talk about something else,” he suggested, leaning back against the counter as she pulled the casserole from the oven. Tonight he planned on relaxing and hanging out with his friend. Tomorrow was soon enough to tell her about her changed circumstances as far as the military was concerned.