The neon sign flashed "THE OASIS." This was no ordinary bar.
But that was how The Bard wanted it. It was time for his brothers in the esteemed trade of Chosen One heroism to really stretch themselves, to reach out with their feelings, as Anakin would say.
Paul did not wait for instruction. He smiled, adjusted the lanyard on his stillsuit, and walked right in. But not everyone was so enthusiastic.
"Oh no. I'm not going in there, mate." Harry Defiantly came to a dead stop.
"I don't know," Anakin said, uncertainly, watching two pretty young college girls walk in. "I am no spring chicken, you know." whhhhhhh pahhhhhh....
Aang looked positively intimidated, and exchanged uncertain glances with Link. John sighed with a wince. "Maybe another night, Bard."
"No." The Bard straightened up. "You all need this, more than you realize. Now come on. I'll be your wing-man."
Harry looked at him incredulously. "You're gonna fly wing-man for six people."
Link looked cautiously at John. "What's a wing-man?"
"You don't want to know. Bard, come on. This is just gonna embarass us."
"I've got a wife back home." Harry regarded The Bard sternly through his bottle-green eyes and round frame specs. "So does Paul. and Aang's got a girlfriend."
Paul leaned out the door. "And two concubines. They don't care." He grinned, and disappeared back into the bar with a wiggle-fingered wave.
Link gestured to the door of the bar. "He is reprehensible."
Aang arched one eyebrow in disgust. "I think he's just bad."
"The word you're looking for," The Bard said, "Is incorrigible. Now listen. You don't have to take anyone home, you don't have to fall in love, produce offspring, get married, kiss, or even give her your real name, but you do all have to do one thing."
Harry sighed. "What's that?"
"Relax." The Bard smiled. "Have a drink, chat some people up, and get these burdens off your shoulders." He gathered them all around. "Now listen. The world is counting on you. The lives millions hangs in the balance, on each of your shoulders. You represent the best qualities of life. Courage. Steadfast faith. Enduring gentleness. Love. Forebearance--"
"...and...um..." The Bard looked to Anakin. "...And...and forgiveness. The ultimate balancing. You are larger than life."
Aang looked horrified. "That's supposed to relax us?!"
"No." The Bard grinned. "That's why you have to relax. The world needs you. What happens if you flip out? Really?"
They all glanced at Anakin. He looked away as if distracted by something.
The bard looked serious. "Yeah? You have a duty to your worlds." He gestured to the door. "Let's get to it."
Aang sighed. "Katara's gonna kill me."
Harry shook his head at the Bard. "You are one slimy snake. And I've known a few."
The Bard clapped him on the shoulder. "Just talk, mate. Just make friends." He led them into the mouth of The Oasis.
As they walked in, Paul had already helped things along. Surrounded by three young ladies in jeans and college teeshirts, he raised one hand and smiled. "And there they are!" He motioned them over. "Ladies, my good friends. The Bard, Harry, Annie, John, Link, And Aang. Gentlemen, this is Julie, a political science major at Pacific City State, and her two friends Nina and Candi."
The Bard smiled. "Ladies. It's a pleasure."
Nina waved seductively. Candy sized up Anankin. "Nice costume."
"Thanks. I...try to blend in." Whhhhhhh pahhhhhh...
The Bard chuckled, in an attempt to cover him over.
Julie looked askance at Link. "So what, is there a sci fi convention in town?"
"Not that I know of." Link answered matter-of-factly. He gestured uncertainly toward the door. "Why? Do you want to go to one?"
The Bard hurt inside. He laughed out loud. "Oh Link. Such a kidder. Say. Why don't we all get drinks and have a seat over in that booth, and we can...while away the night."
Paul grinned. "That sounds like a lovely idea. Bard, if you would handle the tab?"
The Bard snarled at him as he smiled. "Certainly."
"Cute kid." Julie waved to Aang as Paul led them toward the corner booth. Aang blushed bright crimson.
"Oh yes. He's a very well respected man where he comes from..."
The Bard turned back toward the bar, about to hand some money over to the bartender, when he heard a gruff voice say "Disgraceful this is."
The Bard looked to the stool to his left, and there saw an old, wrinkled green-skinned creature with large batlike ears and a gnarled wooden cane.
The Bard narrowed his eyes. "Got a problem with us havin' a night out?"
The creature gestured with hi cane. "Chosen ones they are. Study they should. Discipline they must master. Not this crude passtime. You are reckless." He prodded The Bard with his cane.
"Yeah," The Bard sat down next to him. "Because you obviously did such a good job with yours."
Yoda looked sad. "His choices he made."
"Yeah, funny how that works." The Bard glared at him. "He succeeds, you taught him well. He fails, and he made bad choices."
Yoda looked to The Bard with something like an offended scowl on his wrinkled face.
"That's the problem isn't it," The Bard went on. "The previous generation fucks it up with their carelessness and myopia, and so you gotta lay it on the next. And you lay it on good and thick, don't you?" The Bard turns away. "Never occurs to Earth that we just might not make an army of killer robots. We need them to fight Russia. Never occurs to Hyrule to stop fucking about with the power of the gods. Never occurs to to Ministry of Magic to stop sorting kids at birth for their place in life and damning a quarter of them to be ambitious sods and another quarter to be janitors. Never occurred to you lot--" he pointed at Yoda, "--to be honest about real power."
The Bard shook his head. "So you put it on us. Hey kids, we fucked it up, and if you don't clean it up, you're a failure at life. And by the way, you're special. You have all the power of our hopes and fears, just like that runaway magic and our army of robots. Just like we built them, we built you, so no life of leisure like we had. That was for us. You have to pay for it."
Yoda scowled. "Careful. To a dark place your accusations lead."
"Oh I know. You and yours did the best you could with what you had, right? Couldn't foresee the consequences. Couldn't predict the backlash. Right?" The Bard shook his head. He gestured toward the table, where Julie rolled her eyes at something John was saying. "You all could have taken on the responsibility for your grand social experiments. Those men at that table are gettin' snubbed by the next generation of you."
Yoda sighed, and shook his head. "Little will this blame count when all comes to fruition." He jumped down, and hobbled out.
The bard turned to finish his business with the bartender.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see the concerned eyes of Harry, full of question.
The Bard nodded. "It's a thankless job you do. I just wanted you to have some thanks for it."
Harry turned up one corner of his mouth in a smile. "For what it's worth, I already knew we deserved to be loved."
The Bard nodded, and then, against his will. He sobbed.
Harry put one hand on his shoulder.
The Bard hitched a breath. "You didn't deserve what they did to you, mate. Look at the damage they did. People have died of what they did to you."
Harry nodded. "I know." He guided The Bard back to the booth. "That's why I run this thing. I take children who were taught they were special and just teach them that they deserved love. Come on. Bambi's askin' about you."
This one is for tarafore, an attempt to illustrate and explore a point he made some time ago.