A brief glimpse at events outside the bar for this one as a sort of set up to the scene. In this chapter we also touch upon events as revealed to us in Star Trek Canon that may be slightly incompatible with Buffyverse Canon, but to that I say... Anything is possible, if you are unaware there is an excellent series of books written by Greg Cox, I strongly suggest that you read them if you're a fan of certain characters and lore outside the Star Trek universe... They tend to tie up a lot of nice little bits of information. (I have yet to read Volume Two or even Volume Three, but I plan on getting around to that someday in the near future.)
Anyway, on with the chapter.
The woman looked to be in her late seventies, possibly older than that – it was difficult to tell due to her well kept appearance – Guinan had not expected to meet anyone outside of those she wished to encounter.
However – being a fan of Earth in general she was well aware of certain events that continued to plague mankind even in this more modern era – thus she was peripherally aware of the woman who was now bodily approaching her with a deep-set frown gracing her lips.
“You shouldn’t be here,” she informed.
Guinan smiled. “I go where I am meant to go.”
“You live life the way you want to, El-Aurian,” the woman stated in a soft whisper. “But you were told to stop coming here.”
“Ah yes, by your former associate,” Guinan noted.
The woman’s face bristled with hidden anger and perhaps something more – she was careful to keep it to herself. “My former associate worked tirelessly to protect mankind from itself,” she stated. “And he also did his best to keep the two worlds, that of the advanced alien societies of the galaxy and humanity, from interacting unless it became a part of the timeline.”
“And temporal understandings are such easy things to catalogue,” Guinan stated matter of factly.
The woman shook her head. “That’s beside the point, you cause too many upheavals,” she said frustratedly.
Guinan offered a curt smile. “As opposed to your secret war with Khan,” she said.
“We did our best to keep humanity from mutually assured destruction.”
Guinan shook her head and interrupted the woman before she could continue. “It is more apparent to me, the longer I remain on this planet and learn of the types of people here, that they would have done alright for themselves without the meddling for the greater good you and your former associate contributed.”
The woman scowled and quickly rose from the seat she’d taken. “If you insist on remaining here I’ll have to ask you to cease using your transporters… And for God’s sake, stop giving the locals Romulan Ale,” she said before turning and making her way out of the bar.
Guinan laughed inwardly at her words. The self-appointed champion of humanity Roberta Lincoln, former associate of one Gary Seven, was a woman who did not let age stop her from doing what she thought was best. But Guinan had unique insight into humanity thanks to the part their future had played with her past – she knew that mankind would turn out alright in the end – still perhaps she had been a bit too obvious in her use of the transporter she’d had installed in her current home.
Still – she was never one to let others dictate to her what she could and could not do – so she fully intended to keep her bar open as long as necessary. And nobody told her what to serve the customers.
Roberta Lincoln sighed as she made her way into the large stone structure – she’d done her first chore of the evening – now was the time to deal with the second. There was always something new happening and even with her new younger assistant she was beginning to feel her age.
It was the reason why Gary didn’t actively work alongside her these days. Frustrated that she had to do something like this Roberta took one final step and instantly screamed out in sudden pain as something unexpected occurred.
Tears of pain stung her face as something within the castle prevented her from going further. She didn’t understand it, but before she could even voice her questions or concerns she felt her heart shudder to an unmistakable stop and her eyes rolled up into the back of her head.
Guinan looked up when she felt the powerful presence entering her establishment – she had not expected to be meeting with this particular person to be honest – since she was rare to indulge in any vices after what she nearly wrought.
The red headed woman sat down in a secluded corner of the bar and ordered a beer from one of her assistants. Placing a hand on the shoulder of the male waiter she shook her head.
“I’ll serve this one, Mike,” Guinan told him knowingly. Pulling out her special bottle and a glass she made her way to the dark table.
Willow glanced up as she felt the unusual presence approaching her. Her abilities had become a curse to her way of thinking – she could do anything within her mind that she dreamt of, but she refused to let power corrupt her as it had in the past. Still she was not expecting to detect a strange power on a level strangely similar to her own.
“I thought you might need something a little stronger,” the bartender explained with a soft-spoken smile. “And perhaps a friendly ear to spill your troubles to?”
It was a questioning tone, but the question itself was more of a statement. Willow sighed. “I murdered someone today,” she stated.
Guinan quirked a brow at that. But she didn’t say anything – she would let Willow explain at her own pace.
“This harmless old woman had some kind of appointment with Giles, but when she entered our protective wards something triggered them and her heart stopped. She died and we couldn’t resuscitate her.” Willow was on the verge of tears. “She wasn’t evil, she wasn’t even a demon, she was just… And even though Giles suspects something else is going on here, he’s got them all researching it even now, I know the truth. I’m a murderess… Not that I wasn’t one before, because hey, Warren… Well at least I thought he was dead, but that’s not the point.”
Guinan pursed her lips in thought. So – the late Miss Lincoln had some plan for the Watcher’s Council – perhaps she had remained unaware of the darker facts of life on Earth. It was entirely possible that she meant some harm to the Slayers thinking they were like Khan’s people – it wouldn’t be the first time someone had made an error in judgment which cost them their life.
But young Willow Rosenberg felt guilty and wanted to drown her sorrows in a bottle. Guinan put the stopper back in – having yet to pour a single drop – and slowly got to her feet.
“What are you doing?” Willow demanded.
“You don’t need what I have,” Guinan said softly.
“I just want to… Drink.” Willow glared up at Guinan suspiciously.
“What you want is to punish yourself for a mistake you feel you’ve made,” Guinan told her. “I don’t think it is justified. In this line of work even accidents can happen, if you’ll recall young Miss Lehane’s failings.”
“You know about that too?” Willow asked darting her eyes about the room in search of potential listeners.
Guinan smiled. “Knowledge is a great gift, but it often comes with a heavy burden,” she admitted. “Because you have to know the bad things as well as the good.”
Willow found herself nodding at what Guinan was saying. “I guess you’re right.” She shot the bartender – Guinan – a suspicious look. “What are you?”
“Beyond your comprehension.”
“Try me,” Willow shot back.
Guinan actually laughed at that. “Maybe another time, when you aren’t grieving over the mistake that has cost a young woman her life.”
Willow frowned. “She was old.”
“To people like us,” Guinan began careful to include Willow in her statement. “Age is a relative term, in my eyes Miss Lincoln was still young.” Leaving on those words she headed back to the bar.
Willow watched her go trying to get a better read on her. As her mind pieced together what was being said to her she naturally drew certain conclusions – if they were the wrong conclusions well that was just because she hadn’t been supplied with all the right information.
Still wanting to be alone and needing something she wasn’t sure on she decided to sit quietly in the dark and experience her grief in private – or as private as a public bar could be – it was better than sitting back in the library watching Giles, Xander and a few of the others continue frantically searching for any clue as to a possible link between Roberta Lincoln’s death and any sort of prophecy heralding a great evil.
“Perhaps she can teach me something,” Willow mused to herself. “Like how she knows so much, I wonder if it’s a scrying type of spell or maybe she has a demon familiar that brings her all of these bits of information…”To Be Continued…?