Hello. It's me, the M..

This story is coming close to an end and I'll make it worth your waiting ya'll. I'm sorry for the delays; it's a long story, no pun intended.

Anyway, here she is:

Verbal Dialogue: "…"

Mental Dialogue: "[….]"

Ch. 5 – Family Process

As the sun began to go down, a young woman was sitting down in a lawn chair on a balcony surrounded by a vast jungle and she was not in her best mind. She continued to look upon the night sky as she wiped her eyes with a sheet of Kleenex.

"Oh Blu. How could you just leave me like that? I can't lose you again," said the young woman as tears continued to roll down her cheeks.

She soon felt something touch her shoulder and she jumped with a start before looking to see who just interrupted her peace.

"Tulio, you really shouldn't sneak up on girls like that," said the woman, slightly annoyed.

"I'm sorry Linda. I just wanted to see if you're doing ok," said Tulio caringly.

"Doing ok? I'm doing great! Jewel is pregnant, you let her escape and now Blu's gone too, I'm just peachy," yelled Linda as she once again got in Tulio's face.

"Linda please, just calm down for a second. You're acting…"

"Acting what! Acting crazy? You think I'm crazy? Well squawk, squawkty, squawk squawk!" shouted Linda, breathing heavily from her anger.

Almost instantaneously, Linda's face fell as her anger was shrouded with guilt. Suddenly, she threw her arms around Tulio's neck in a tight embrace.

"Oh Tulio, I'm…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you…again," said Linda, hiccupping as she buried her face in Tulio's shoulder.

Tulio, slightly startled, wrapped his own arms around Linda, completing the intimate encirclement.

"Don't be," said Tulio, gently rubbing Linda's back.

As the couple held each other, the two heard a loud flapping noise, like the sound of a bird's wing span.

Linda lifted her head as she and Tulio looked towards the direction of the sound. Linda who was so emotionally distraught instantly felt great joy and relief as she looked upon two familiar faces.

"BLU! JEWEL! YOU'RE OK!" yelled Linda as she released Tulio and rushed towards the balcony, with Tulio following close behind.

Blu smiled as Linda quickly approached him and Jewel but as much Blu loved Linda's displays of affection, now was not the time. What was more important is for Jewel to be examined once more for any damage she might've received when she flown off.

Linda gasped when she noticed Jewel's condition. Her breathing was abnormal, she was shaking like a leaf, and she could barely keep herself together. Jewel was exhausted and disoriented from her long journal and she had to lean on Blu for support.

Tulio had a keen eye and could tell immediately of the severity of Jewel's condition. She needed medical attention now and her eggs had to be examined for possible damage.

"Linda…," said Tulio, getting her attention. "I need to take Jewel in so that I can check for possible damage. She's been flying for some time and all that effort could have put some stress on her eggs. She will need help right away."

"Alright," she said as she slowly nodded.Tulio expected more from Linda, but she said nothing. Then Linda motioned her eyes towards Tulio's office and he understood. Linda wished to have a moment alone with Blu, so Tulio carefully took Jewel and went to tend to her.

With Linda and Blu alone, she turned her to face Blu who was avoiding eye contact.

"Blu, look at me." Blu continued to look away from Linda, feeling ashamed for abandoning her earlier like he did.

"Blu please, look at me," pleaded Linda. Blu finally obliged, unable to ignore Linda's wishes.

"Never leave me like that again, Blu," said Linda and looked in his eyes. "I can understand that you were worried for Jewel's safety, but you should have let me know first! You just left without a moment's thought… In fact, I've thought you would get hurt. Do you have any idea what that would do to me? Please Blu, I'm not angry with you but please don't do that again without letting me know first. I don't want to lose you again and you have a responsibility to Jewel, you're as important to her and you are to me. Please Blu, can you promise me that?"

Blu lowered his head. He was sure he could keep that promise. Blu smiled slightly and looked at Linda. She gave him her hand.

"So… you promise?"

He nodded and they made their signature hand gesture.

Once that was done with, Blu motioned towards the forest and looked at Linda with a pleading look.

"Go, if you need too. But come back soon. I'm sure Tulio will be finished with Jewel soon, she'll need you."

Blu nuzzled Linda for a moment before taking off to the skies. Jewel definitely worries about something. He'll go see her as soon as he can and do his best to fill the new hole in Jewel's tender heart. Since their family is going to expand, Blu would need some serious advice and this was the best time to find some since Jewel's examination will take some time. Better now than later. Blu rarely had free time to himself being with Jewel and all (not that he could complain) and considering the situation, he'll have to use it wisely.

7 minutes later…

After a matter of minutes, Blu made it to the area of the residence of his proposed mentor, the former King of Carnival, Rafael. Blu scanned the forest ground, making sure none of Rafael's feisty children were in sight. With a sigh of relief, Blu concludes that none of the children were in sight. Then Blu started to feel uneasy of the awkward silence as if he was the only one around. Blu needed to find Rafael and soon. Given Jewel's condition, Blu knew he might not get another chance before tending to her. Blu landed on a tree where Rafael's hollow was. Confirming his suspicions, Blu peered inside the hollow to see that no one was home. Blu's stomach dropped in hopelessness before he heard a sound that made his heart jump.

"Blu? Is that you?" called out a contralto voice from behind Blu. Startled, Blu quickly turned his head and sighed in relief when he recognized the speaker.

"Oh Eva. It's you. Have you seen Rafael? I need to talk to him, now," asked Blu, still slightly alarmed.

Eva was taken aback by Blu's behavior. To her, Blu was acting more unusual than usual. This was not a good sign and being a mother of 18 toucan toddlers and the wife of the King of Carnival, sensing one's distress was second nature.

"Raffy is out with the kids, he's teaching them how to fly properly so he might be gone for a bit. And I need to clean the nest. Is everything ok Blu?"

Blu was in a fix at this point. Rafael was out for the time being and there's no telling how long he'll be out. Considering how much trouble his children were capable of, Blu knew that Raf would have wings full. Blu began to panic at this point as numerous thoughts ran through his well-developed neural network.

"[Oh man. This isn't good, what I'm gonna…wait! Eva! She's a mother of 18 crazy children after-all, why not ask her for advice? Jewel will be up soon and I need to return to Linda asap. I can't go back on my word; I love Linda too much to…]"

"Blu? Blu? BLU!"

"Whoa! Wait! What's up?" shouted Blu, who put a wing to his rapid-beating heart after snapping out of his zone-out. Blu looked down at an annoyed Eva who had her wings on her hips.

"I asked you a question Blu, twice! Is something wrong? And where's Jewel?" asked Eva in an irritated tone.

"Yes. Err… no… I mean… uh… well," stuttered Blu before sighing in frustration and landing before Eva. He put on a serious face and spoke in a determined voice.

"I need some advice Eva, serious advice. And since Raf is absent right now, you're all that's left," said Blu solemnly.

"Oh…I see. Well Blu, I'm listening?"

I found out something big Eva, I mean big. Jewel…she is…I mean I am…well…Jewel, she is…she's carrying my children," said Blu quickly before covering his face in embarrassment. He kept his face covered for a moment before peeking to see Eva's reaction. Eva just stood there in clear awe, then her visage softened and she smiled. Then she responded in a kind but serious tone.

"Oh Blu, I'm so happy for you. For you and Jewel. But what I don't understand is why you're acting this way. I thought that this would make you happy. And how's Jewel taking it?" asked Eva.

"She's kind of taking it harder than me. She's fine for now and I just want to be ready when the time comes. Look, you and Raf have many kids, so you should know what I'm talking about when I say I'm worried," said Blu with despair in his tone.

"You have no idea Blu and to be completely honest, I didn't even know what I was going to do when I knew I was having kids."

Blu was not expecting this. Eva always seemed like the perfect mother-figure and that she could handle any mess her chicks could cook up, as if it was an expertise.

"Really? But Eva…you always seemed like…"

"…I can handle anything? Blu was slightly surprised at Eva's precise guess and nodded before she continued.

Well, that's sweet Blu, but it's not as easy as it looks at being a mother of 18. But don't despair just yet, I believe you and Jewel are very capable of doing the mother/father routine. It's hard at first but it's an instinct that dwells in everyone. No one can teach how to be a good father or a good mother Blu, it's something that you need to find in yourself. Every child has different needs and will react differently to their parents."

Blu thought for a moment and realized what Rafael once said to him.

"It's like flying. It's not what you thing up here, it's what you feel in here, right?" asked Blu as he motioned towards his head and finally his chest area. Eva looked at him slightly bewildered and annoyed.

"My husband?" she asked knowing full well where Blu heard said philosophy statement.

"Uh yeah, the day we first met actually. Sure wish it was under less painful circumstances," said Blu, shuddering slightly from the recollection of the time he and Jewel were mercilessly attacked by Rafael's children.

"They'll grow out of it Blu, they're actually behaving much better lately."

"That's great to know…b-but I don't think I'll stick around to see just how well they're behaving," said Blu fearfully.

Eva smiled and shook her head.

"Well Blu, don't you have to be somewhere?" asked Eva, already knowing the answer.

"Huh? Oh, of course! Jewel! She'll be wondering where I am? I gotta... Eva, I'm really…"

"Blu! You're welcome! Now go, Jewel will need you," said Eva raising her voice slightly.

With that Blu took off, and said his goodbyes before flying out of sight once again.

Steady but deep breathes were released as Jewel rested upon the medical berth that Tulio used for his aviary patients.

Jewel just laid there down on the examination table, her mind filling with melancholy thoughts despite Blu's consolation. She was in major discomfort, but she didn't care at the moment. She kept her eyes close while her mind was somewhere deep in her thoughts.

Will she be a good mother as her mate said she would? Will Blu be as a good a father as her own and be able to support Jewel and her children, their children? Will he be able to protect them with all that he is? Too many questions and very few answers, if any at all.

Before she met Blu, Jewel never thought of serious matters such as death, starting a family, mortal consequences and what not. She knew that all living things will eventually die, sooner or later, and without exception. The only difference is in question how she will die. Maybe that's why she didn't want to make any friends. She didn't want someone to grieve for her, nor did she want to grieve for another and feel that she failed them again, like she felt she did her first family.

Then it hit her, Jewel was alone in the examination room.

"Blu?"

There was no answer and Jewel began to sob softly…alone.

There you have it blokes, a little overdue, but I finished this chapter. Expect the climax to come soon ya'll. I had major neural blockage over this story but an esteemed writer was kind enough to offer me his ideas, of which I put to good use. He goes by Ross R, please offer him the credit, I was lazy over this story.

Anyway…sayonara and Christ be with you!

-M