Finn contemplates retirement. Aerrow is not amused.

Home is Where the Heart Is

"Where's Finn?" Aerrow asked his team. "We can't stay here forever, there's other places to go."

The Terra Vapos had once again called for its heroic Domo for help. Finn had once again come to their aid. The Storm Hawks had once again been dragged along.

"I'm sorry, Aerrow," Piper shrugged. "We've been looking everywhere. He's just disappeared."

"He went down to the lake over that way," Stork called from the loading dock. Aerrow and Piper turned to stare at him incredulously, and he shrugged. "He said he wanted some time alone."

"I'll go get him. Finish loading up, you guys," Aerrow headed for the lake. "I can't believe he just wandered off…"

Aerrow did indeed find his teammate at the lake, laid out flat on the grassy bank with his eyes shut tight. Aerrow was about to nudge him awake when Finn said, "Hey."

"Hey. You ready, buddy?" Aerrow jerked a thumb in the ship's direction. "We gotta go."

Finn sighed. "Oh. What's the rush?"

"Terras to explore," said Aerrow. "People to protect."

"Oh." Finn opened his sky-blue eyes and looked up at Aerrow. "Hey, sit down here for a second."

"Finn, we have to---"

"I know," Finn said wearily. "Just sit for a minute. Please. I need to talk to you."

Aerrow sat down next to Finn. "Is something bothering you?"

"Sort of. Lie down."


"Like this," Finn patted the grass near his head. "Just flat out. Lie perfectly still."

Aerrow leaned back into the grass. "Okay. Now what?"

Finn shushed him. "Just close your eyes and listen."

Aerrow did. He did that for about ten seconds, then his green eyes snapped open. "Okay. Now what?"

Finn rolled his head to the side to look at him. "You don't hear it?"

"Hear what?"

"Ah." Finn let his head roll back.

Aerrow propped himself up on his elbows. "What do you hear?"

Finn closed his eyes again. "A heartbeat."

"I think that's your own heartbeat."

"Doesn't matter. It's really cool." He inhaled deep, and let the breath out what seemed to be atom by atom. "I've never felt like this before. I never got this feeling. Not anywhere else in Atmos." He opened his eyes again to look at Aerrow. "You know, I think I was really meant to come here. Prophesy or fate or whatever it was."

Aerrow could feel something in his stomach going cold.

"I mean," Finn continued, "Have you ever gotten the feeling that if you stayed somewhere long enough and just held still and did nothing, that somehow you'd just melt into it and never be able to leave? And you'd just be part of everything. Like one big…I don't know. Like, I was talking about it with Stork, and he was talking about how he feels like that with the Condor. It's just this connection. Like, if you moved, everything would move with you…hey, Aerrow," Finn finally noticed the look on Aerrow's face and sat up fast. "What's up?"

"We have to go," Aerrow said flatly, pushing himself from the ground and grabbing for Finn as he went. "We have things to do."

"Aerrow!" Finn pulled his arm away. "Wait! I---"

"Don't tell me," Aerrow glared over his shoulder. "You want to leave? Fine. Leave."

"What the heck? Dude, I'm just trying to tell you---"

"Finn, if you want to stay here, it's fine," Aerrow said wretchedly. "Just say so already."

"That's NOTwhat I'm saying! Listen to me for once!" Finn grabbed Aerrow's shoulder. "I'm not talking about leaving the Storm Hawks!"

"Then what are you talking about?"

"Don't you ever think about anything besides the Storm Hawks? There's life outside the Condor!"

"Are you out looking for it?" Aerrow demanded.

"No, dude," Finn shook his head. "But I'm thinking about it. We're not gonna be Storm Hawks forever. Aerrow, come on. You can't honestly tell me you've never gone somewhere and wished you could stay forever. That feeling, man!" Finn said desperately. "I thought you of all people would get it…if I talked to you about it…"

Aerrow looked up at the sky. "Yeah. I think I get what you mean."

"I'm not saying I wanna jump ship and stay here forever now," said Finn. "Just…eventually. I don't know. I wanted to talk to you about it."

"I'm not sure I get what you mean by eventually," Aerrow said, a little less menacingly.

"Like, retirement, dude," Finn shrugged. "When we're too old for all this."

Aerrow weighed this in his head.

"I mean, like I was saying," Finn continued. "We can't be Storm Hawks forever, you know? There's arthritis and stuff. And younger kids moving up through the ranks, like us, you know? So we'd all have to go off and settle eventually. So I've picked my spot. When we're through with being Storm Hawks, I'm coming right back here, man."

"How do you know," Aerrow said slowly, "that we're going to live that long?"

The blonde stopped and thought. "Because we're going to."

"Finn," said Aerrow, shaking his head. He looked up the hill at Piper and the others, loading the last of the supplies into the Condor. "The Storm Hawks before us didn't last that long. What makes us so different?"

"Because we're better than them."

Aerrow turned back to stare at Finn in amazement. The other boy wore a scowl of pure obstinacy and pride.

"We're better than them," Finn repeated firmly. "We're smarter and faster and stronger. And we've got you. And because we've got you, we're gonna beat Cyclonia and have a million fans and protect everybody and live forever. So there." He grinned, and marched past Aerrow. "So make plans, buddy. Someday we're gonna have all the time in the world. And I know what I'm gonna do." He turned back. "Hey, you coming? We gotta go, dude!"

Aerrow trudged up behind him, bewildered.

Plans for the future? Home? He didn't want to think about getting old, getting grounded somewhere forever.

"Aerrow, are you ready?" Piper called down. "We gotta go! Come on, you were the one who was in such a big hurry!" She teased.

Aerrow never wanted to be anything other than a Storm Hawk. He never wanted to leave the sky. Did that count as a plan for the future? He didn't want any other.

He'd rather just die.