Aerrow raised his head and stared curiously at the hallway that led away from the bridge. The noise that echoed down the passageway was soon followed by Finn. He was walking in an exaggeratedly dejected manner, arms splayed out at his sides and feet thumping the deck with each over-emphasized step. His eyes were rolled up to the ceiling, all squinty beneath a brow that was crinkled and distorted in his effort to affect an expression of agonizing boredom. Aerrow raised one red eyebrow in an almost indulgent fashion as Finn slumped his way to the table at which the sky knight sat.
Finn let his upper body collapse onto the surface of the table at the same time that he flopped into the bench. He stayed there a moment while Aerrow looked on in slight confusion. Across the room, Stork rolled his eyes and mumbled something under his breath that no one could really hear.
When he judged that he had sat still long enough to get across the full extent of his boredom, the sharpshooter let his head roll to the side to be cushioned on his bicep. His eyes were wide when he stared up at his leader. "Man… I'm sooooo boooored."
Aerrow stared for a moment. Then he shrugged and went back to the book he had been reading before Finn had interrupted. "So… go listen to your radio or something."
"I already did that. For four hours!"
"Okay…" Aerrow mumbled, his attention already caught by the words on the page. "So… play your guitar? Quietly.." he added under his breath.
"Nah. Piper took the strings and I cant find them."
"Don't know what to tell you. Its only been a couple days since we left Atmosia… you do know we wont reach our next destination for a week or three, right?"
Finn's inarticulate complaint failed to register on Aerrow's face, so he tried a different tack.
"Tactical observations on the Cyclonian skirmish parties." Aerrow replied.
"Eh.. not really. Piper recommended it. Maybe she could find something for you to do too. She has a pretty good library."
Finn wrinkled his nose at that. "Pass." He continued to watch Aerrow, who gave no indication that he even noticed his friend's attempt to bore holes into his head with his eyes alone.
Finn sighed and finally gave up. He let his eyes rove over the bridge.
He was so bored! How could the rest of them be so serene in this dull place? Junko was helping Piper in the lab-he rolled his eyes, who would have seen that coming?-and Stork was only fun when something dangerous was happening. And even then, only for the laughs that such situations provided.
The lack of activity was liable to do him in. There was nothing-NOTHING-going on. He just couldn't understand the appeal of reading all day or staring at glowing rocks. Sometimes it seemed like he was the only person in the whole squadron who had a single clue as to how to have a good time. He gave another inarticulate groan, then, "I'm going for a ride."
He started to melodramatically drag himself out of his chair when Aerrow's voice stopped him. "You know we have to conserve fuel, Finn."
He hadn't even looked up from the book this time!
Finn dropped back into the chair.
For the next ten minutes, he fidgeted and grumbled low in his throat, every now and then scowling at Aerrow. He was the leader! He should take care of his team. And in Finn's opinion, that meant keeping him from the creeping encroachment of utter boredom.
After a while, Aerrow, glanced up at his friend. With a sigh, he carefully marked his page and set the book down on the table before leaning back and stretching his arms over his head. He groaned in satisfaction as several vertebrae snapped and popped into place. He settled back down and gave Finn his attention. "So, no radio and no guitar."
Finn nodded morosely.
"Read a book?"
"Clean your skimmer?"
"I haven't even ridden it in three days."
"Hmm… I dunno what to tell you." Aerrow sat back with a half-smile. "I'm sure you can think of something to entertain yourself. Just make sure its not too destructive."
"Hey, I'm not destruct-hey! I have an idea!"
Aerrow was reaching for his book again. "Good… but remember, I'm not letting you anywhere near the fire extinguishers again. Last time…" he shuddered at the memory of the joyful abandon that Finn had displayed that day… white foam covered every available surface… but then again, it had been almost worth it for the look on Stork and Piper's face when they saw the Wallop-turned-snowman that was Junko, complete with one of Piper's scarves around his neck and Stork's anti-mind worm helmet on his head. Aerrow bit back a snicker at the memory and started to flip through the book back to his page. Back to business.
Or, at least, that is what he would have done if Finn hadn't grabbed his arm. "Dude, I have the best idea. And you are going to love this!"
"But-hey!" With that, Aerrow found himself hauled out of his chair in the wake of the excitable sniper.
The book clattered to the floor with a thump. Stork glanced up from the ship's controls, nervously rubbing a green thumb over the sight gauges. "This cant be good.."
Finn's feet barely hit the deck as he dragged his surprised friend down the corridor until they made it to the kitchen, where he looked around quickly to make sure that no one was around. Then he shoved Aerrow inside, stepped into the room, and slammed the door shut behind them both. He turned and Aerrow's stomach sank. He knew that look that Finn had on his face… it was the one that he always wore before he either did or caused something really strange.
"Uh… Finn? What are you doing and why did you drag me to the kitchen?"
"Dude… I have this great idea, but you have to do it too."
"That… doesn't sound good."
Finn slapped Aerrow on the shoulder. "Its nothing too bad!"
"Uhh… so why are we in the kitchen again?"
"I don't want anyone to hear my idea. It has to be a secret."
"Okay… now I'm confused. What's going on?"
"I'll tell you.. but first you have to promise you'll do it."
"Finn… I wasn't born yesterday. I wont commit to anything unless you tell me what it is first."
"Just a little contest, Aerrow. That's all."
At those words, Aerrow perked up a little in interest, despite himself. "Okay… but you have to tell me what it is."
"What… you chicken, Aerrow? Cant just take a chance and say you'll do it first?"
"Do you seriously expect me to knowingly go along with one of your schemes without some forewarning?"
"Chicken." Finn began doing a rather credible impression of the bird in question.
Aerrow groaned. This was so wrong. "Finn…"
Finn just continued his antics, much to Aerrow's annoyance. "Finn… FINN!"
The blonde stopped his impression long enough to grin at Aerrow. "I'll stop if you say you'll do it."
"What if I say no?"
"Then I'll know for sure that there's one thing that you'd never be able to beat me in doing. And you know what? You wouldn't even know what it was. Because you wouldn't have even tried. And that would bother you forever and ever."
Aerrow narrowed his eyes. Great. Not only does he know exactly how to pique my interest… he's not going to stop bugging me until I say yes. Aerrow rubbed his chin, thinking furiously. Lets weigh the pros and cons… if we have a friendly contest, then it would be easy to keep him out of trouble… and I would have something to do too. And it couldn't be THAT bad, right? Besides, what harm could he cause out here in the middle of no-where? And I AM really curious now…
He realized that Finn was watching him with that knowing expression on his face. Aerrow frowned. He held up one finger and opened his mouth to say something, but paused instead, considering.
Finn knew he had him. "You know you want to, Aerrow. Come on, you're going to be just as bored as me, no matter how many of Piper's books you read. Three weeks of flying with no pit stops?"
It took a minute for his answer to come, but when it did, Finn crowed with delight. "Fine… fine. But I reserve the right to back out of things if its too disruptive."
"Oh, you wont back out, believe me."
"Right… so tell me what this contest is."
Finn's grin was almost infectious but Aerrow kept himself aloof. They sat down at the kitchen table. "Okay, first thing's first. This contest is going to definitely take a couple of days. So we have to keep journals. Got that?"
"Okay… sounds weird, but why not?"
"And we cant compare notes until its all over, got that?"
"Can you just tell me what we're doing?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm getting to that. And remember, you have GOT to keep this all under wraps. Only you and I are allowed to know about the wager. Oh, man, this is going to be so funny."
"Finn…" Aerrow said warningly, "Get on with it. I have some things I need to take care of."
"Okay. Remember, you promised to do this, so no backing out now."
"Okay. So here's the deal." His smile got even wider, if that was possible. "The first person to get a kiss from Piper wins."
"…What?" Aerrow shot up out of his chair in pure reflex.
"Dude, come on. Its not that big a deal. Its just a game."
"No it isn't! Piper's a teammate, Finn, not some….ugh!"
"Aerrow, what's the problem? Its not like she'd be forced to do anything. Its just a way to pass the time for a while."
"No way, Finn. I cant do that."
"What, you afraid of a girl?"
"No! I just…. Damnit, its not right." Aerrow's face flamed.
"Finn." Aerrow growled. "Any contest but something like that. Its not right to play with people like that."
"Dude, chill. I already said that no ones forcing anyone to do anything, right? I guess…" He had a sudden flash of inspiration, "If you wont do it, then I'll have to either get Junko to try or I'll do it on my own. Just think… I'll beat you because you wont even try."
Aerrow had been on his way out the door when that last comment hit his ears. "What?"
Finn shrugged nonchalantly. "Hey, winning by default works for me… but I'll still have to fulfill the conditions of the wager, just for my self respect."
I'm going to regret this…Aerrow forced himself to turn around. "You're an ass."
Finn just smiled up at him. "So… you're gonna do it?"
Okay. First off, I lied. I was going to wait a few days before posting again, but this fic kinda clawed its way out of my brain and demanded to be put to paper. So here it is.
Also, I know this situation is FAR out there. I'm keeping the characters as close to their in character personas as much as possible, but I have a feeling this one is going to be hard. Worth it, but hard.
Also, I'm going to do something new. If you go into my profile, there will be a poll. Each day, when I go to write the next chapter, I shall refer to this poll.
That's right. You, the readers, will have an affect on how this one goes, at least for the time being. As long as I can keep it going that way, I shall. So vote, if you want things to go a certain way. And if no one votes, I shall be sad, but I will continue writing.
At the end of each chapter I will post the results of the poll that helped form that chapter.
Remember, I tend to update at least once every 24 hours.
Oh, and the following chapters will be done in POV style.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this method of fanfic works!