Hello Readers: This is my first Rio story. I don't really have any notes before I begin, so...enjoy. :)
Disc: I definitely do not own Rio. (I just named some characters that appeared in the movie nameless. I.E., Blu and Jewel's children and a green parrot seen in the background during "Hot Wings").
"Samba's not just music. It's a way of life."
"Explain that to me."
Nico adjusted his bottle cap in frustration, angling it as if he was going into battle and fixing his face with a preparatory scowl. "Does samba make you dance?"
"Does. Samba. Make. You. Dance."
Blu relented. "Yes."
"And when it makes you dance, what do you feel?"
"Like…like I just have to move or something will explode inside me."
"You make it sound so negative."
"Fine, like I just have to move or music will escape my soul. I don't know."
"When something gets in your blood like that, until you just can't take it anymore and you've got to let it out, I'd say it surpasses music."
Blu's face communicated clearly that the argument was done. Nico turned to Javier, Rey, and Abelina.
"And that is why you should come to the Branch to hear your uncles Nico and Pedro."
"I wanna go, Papa!" Javier, the eldest and most rebellious of the Blue Macaw chicks, flew to his side and stared up at him with the big turquoise eyes inherited from his mother. "Why can't we go?"
"The Branch is not the place for kids your age. Which I've told your Uncle Nico more times than I can recall."
"It does sound fun, Papa." Rey was more like his pensive father, always putting a foot into the water first to test the temperature.
"Yeah, if you dance all the time, why can't we?"
"That's got nothing to do with it, Javier, if for some reason you decide you like samba, then when you're older you can go to the club—"
"But that'll take FOREVER!"
"Trust me, it won't."
Nico smiled at the chaos ensuing between father and sons. There really was no reason the kids could not come to the Branch one night. Risqué dancing was perhaps the worst thing they could be exposed to. The birds there didn't even drink alcohol. Well…when they couldn't manage to find it.
He nudged Abelina in the shoulder when Blu started threatening to set Javier and Rey up on a playdate with Rafael's children if they didn't stop pestering him. "Go ask him," he whispered.
Abelina glided dutifully to Blu's side, edging her way in between her two now frenzied brothers. "Papa?"
Her dainty voice somehow carried through the ruckus to Blu's ears. "What, sweetie?"
"I'd really like to go see Uncle Nico and Uncle Pedro. They sing so nice for us, they must be awesome when they actually perform."
Blu clearly didn't know how to handle denying his only daughter a wish so sweetly expressed. "Abby, I'm sorry, I just don't want you—or your brothers—going there yet."
Abelina looked crestfallen.
"I love you, that's why I'm saying you have to wait a few years."
"I love you."
She did not return the sentiment.
"Oh, come on!"
"You're really going to deny your children the simple wish to experience music?" Nico feigned an expression of betrayal and held his cap over his heart.
Blu glared. "Where's Pedro?"
"And that, kids, is why you should not listen to your uncles."
Javier looked back and forth between Nico and his father. "So you're saying that if we go to see Uncle Pedro and Uncle Nico perform, we get to sleep more?"
"What? No, it's the middle of the day and Pedro is still asleep, that's bad."
"Sounds good to me."
"You're missing the point."
"Then what is the point?"
Pedro suddenly flew in out of nowhere, yawning and straining to keep himself aloft with only one wing. "What's up, mini macaws?"
"Uncle Pedro, Papa still says we can't see you perform!" All three kids rushed to his side, burying their faces in his soft and plentiful gut—Pedro still hadn't figured out why they liked to hug him so much.
"WHAT? Well you tell your papa that just because he's a lame-o doesn't mean you kids have to be."
"I'm right here," Blu said.
"I've been trying to tell him," Nico piped in. "There's nothing wrong with the kids experiencing some samba."
"They experience samba all the time, you sing them to sleep practically every night."
"That's not samba."
"Whatever, it all sounds the same."
Nico's bottom lip quivered. Pedro, already surrounded by three disappointed children, lifted up his vacant wing in invitation to a fourth. Nico buried his head in the crook of his best friend's arm.
"Why is he always so mean?" the muffled voice said through Pedro's feathers.
"Oh, come on, Nico, I didn't mean that all samba sounds the same…" Blu guiltily explained. "Just…most of it."
Nico did not emerge.
Pedro, with one wing around three disheartened chicks and the other enveloping an injured friend, said, "I think you've done enough."
Blu sputtered in protest, but Jewel landed on the beach beside him.
"Why do my children look like they were just told we were shipping them off to military school?"
Rey snapped his head up. "You're shipping us off to military school?"
"It's just an expression, honey."
His brown eyes relaxed. "Oh."
"I told them they couldn't see Pedro and Nico perform," Blu explained to his mate.
"He's being lame, Mama."
"Javier, your father is absolutely right."
"It's not a good place for you kids to be at your age. Maybe in another year or so."
"That's what I said," Blu gloated triumphantly.
"Sorry, kids. That includes you, Pedro and Nico," Jewel said in a motherly tone.
Pedro scowled and Nico slumped against his side.
"Are you ready for your flying lesson?"
All disappointments surrendered to the more-likely-to-be-immediately satisfied desire of learning to fly. The kids yipped excitedly and ran to their mother with their little birdie feet.
"Okay, kids, follow me," Jewel said and took off. The kids clumsily flapped their wings until they ascended a little. Once airborne, they trailed slowly behind their mother, who calmly glided a ways ahead of them to give their inexperienced wings time to catch up.
As soon as his family turned to semi specks in the distance, Blu narrowed his eyes. "Stop agitating my children."
"Stop agitating Nico." Pedro pointed to Nico's sullen form.
"Nico, are you really that upset?"
Nico gleefully emerged from his hiding place. "Nah."
"Then stop agitating my children and yourself."
"But it's so much fun."
"Guys, I know you want them to be able to come to the Branch, I do. And I know they want to go just as badly. But I can't let them, so stop getting them all worked up."
"Aw, come on, the Branch is not that bad. I don't see why they can't come just for a night."
"Because a night is all it takes."
"For what?" Pedro scoffed.
"The first time I went, a bird vs. monkey fight erupted. We all might have escaped unscathed, but a lot of birds—and monkeys—didn't."
Pedro and Nico were silent.
"And that was during the day! There's no telling what happens at night!"
"Pretty much the same thing…" Nico admitted.
"Does that sound like a safe environment for three young chicks?"
Both chastised birds looked at the ground. "No."
"You see my point."
"Can we be mature about this?"
Nico fiddled with his bottle cap, a sure sign he was mentally perturbed. "I guess you have a point."
The cardinal crossed his arms. "Fine."
"Thank you for recognizing and appreciating the safety of my children." Seeing his friends' sullen expressions, Blu continued. "Are you going to sing them a lullaby tonight?"
Nico perked up. "Yep."
Pedro nodded in agreement. Although soothing music was not his penchant, sometimes he played a tiny makeshift guitar constructed of string attached to a nut shell.
Blu smiled. "Good."
"Hey, boys, what's going on?" Rafael landed beside Blu, accidentally spraying sand into Blu's face with his large wings.
"Pedro and Nico just agreed to stop getting my children to conspire against me," he coughed.
"You guys are still on that?"
"Were," Nico said. "But, hey, we can wait a year or two."
"Good, because sometimes the Branch is not the place for children."
"We know," Pedro said.
Blu threw his wings up. "Why does everyone listen to other people when they say the same things I've been saying?"
"Calm down, Blu, everybody listens to Rafael," the Toucan said smugly. Blu muttered to himself in response.
Rafael turned to Nico and Pedro. "You two getting ready for the Best of the Branch?"
"You know it," Pedro said excitedly.
"What's the Best of the Branch?" Blu asked.
"A talent contest the Branch holds every year. Nico and Pedro here have won it four years in a row."
"And it's going to be our fifth," stated Pedro.
"When is this?"
"Tomorrow night," Nico said.
"Tomorrow night? Are you going, Rafael?"
"Of course. Even if these two weren't in it, it's a huge event."
Blu looked almost insulted. "Well why wasn't I told about it?"
Nico scratched his head under his bottle cap. "I guess we forgot about it. I keep forgetting you're new here."
"Rafael, do you think Eva could watch the kids?"
Rafael stared quizzically at the Blu Macaw. "You want my wife to watch your children?"
"Well they'll be asleep."
"Oh, yeah, sure. She never goes. She hates being social."
"Great, Jewel and I would love to come."
Pedro and Nico shared ecstatic expressions. "That's great, Blu!" Nico exclaimed.
"Yeah, besides the fact that you get to see us, I'm sure other people will be just as awesome. Probably," Pedro agreed.
Nico nudged his friend. "Didn't Raoul say he was competing?"
"Oh yeah, he's doing a drum solo or something."
"Raoul?" Blu asked.
"He drums for us a lot. The green parrot."
"Oh, I think I remember him. Do I know anyone else competing?"
"Nah, you're new," Rafael said. "But it's a great way for you and Jewel to meet some other birds."
"Or for the kids to experience some samba."
A few miles away from the beach, amidst the noise and bustle of a city at lunchtime, Raoul the parrot sat perched on a railing at a popular venue. An orange parrot sat beside him.
"So you're going to do it, huh?" The orange bird asked.
Raoul's green feathers practically glistened with envy. "I can't take it anymore."
"Amen. I'm glad to hear someone taking a stand."
"The way they think they're so cool, and how they get to perform spotlight any night they want, and everyone loves them—"
"Why is that?"
"I don't know. We're just as talented as they are."
"Don't I know it."
Raoul eyed a plate of french fries being carried to a table by a young girl. Protocol demanded that he wait until the family was finished to swoop in and take the leftovers, but he was not in the mood to bend his desires to a courtesy code.
The green parrot rapidly took off, lunged at the plate, and flew away with hot fried potatos clutched in his claws, leaving behind a screaming and terrified little girl. He landed again at his original perch. The orange parrot held out a wing for a fry, but quickly retracted it when he saw how voraciously his companion ripped into one.
Raoul swallowed. "This year, Nico and Pedro are not going to be on top. I guarantee that."
End Chapter One. Reviews are always appreciated, especially if you like the story, because the more reviews I get the faster I update. (Usually). So...go at it. (Please).