A/N: Hello Readers! Thank you for choosing to read "Buddy Wars", and I apologize for the title in advance. I literally spent 2 and a half days trying to think of an appropriate title, and this was the best I could do. It's a play on "Body Wars", if anyBODY (haha, puns) knows what that is. Probably not.
Anyway, I thought I would make a quick note, so I pray that you are still reading. I wrote a previous Rio fic by the name of "Ambitions". This story is basically a sequel, I'm referring to it as a 'companion piece.' And so I recommend that anyone who has not read "Ambitions" and wants to read this story...well, read "Ambitions" first. You don't have to, it's not like reading the 4th Harry Potter before the 3rd (not a good idea, trust me), but some of the characters from "Ambitions" do make a reappearance, and they all talk about what happened in the previous story. So to avoid any confusion, you might want to read the other story first.
Before my disclaimer, I would like to give special thanks to Qille, who I also thank numerous times in my previous story. Because, well, she's awesome. This story would probably not exist if she did not allow me to bounce ideas off of her, and I highly recommend any story she's written, most notably "Bottled Up" and the one she is currently working on, "Seeing Double."
AND NOW THE DISCLAIMER!
Disc: I do not own Rio. Or any of the characters. Except the ones you don't remember from the movie. Those are mine.
"To the right now!"
Javier, Rey, and Abelina moved to their left, realized their mistake, and instead swayed to the right.
"To the left!" Nico saw their problem with direction and pointed to their left. They scrambled sideways. "Take it back now y'all!"
The three chicks clumsily backtracked, Rey looking behind him to avoid running into anything even though there were no obstacles in the Blue Macaw hollow.
"One hop this time!"
Pedro, beat-boxing in the background, paused to make the jumping sound effect in lieu of musical equipment.
"One hop this time!"
"Right foot two stomps!"
"Left foot two stomps!"
"Sliiiiide to the left!"
The sound of little birdie feet sliding across bark filled the hollow.
"Sliiiiide to the right!"
Javier slid a little bit too far, and the chicks laughed as he struggled to fix himself in time to slide back to the right.
Pedro gave his best attempt at a record scratching sound, which turned out to be eerily accurate. The kids laughed again.
Rey struggled so hard to pull off a good crisscross dance move that he fell to the floor.
"Cha cha, real smooth."
Nico took a break from shouting dance moves to cha cha himself. He smiled as the kids tried to copy him.
"Everybody clap yo—"
"What is going on?"
Nico stopped singing and Pedro immediately stopped his background sound effects. All five birds turned to see two very dismayed Blue Macaws perched in the entrance to the hollow. Their expressions made it difficult to guess if they were truly angry, or just struggling not to laugh.
"I feel like I should be more surprised to find the babysitters doing the Cha Cha Slide with my children when they should be in bed," Blu said drily.
"But I'm not tired," Pedro protested.
"When my children should be in bed."
"It was all his fault!" Nico accused, pointing at Javier. "He was all 'I don't wanna go to bed', and 'It's not bedtime', and 'Mama and Papa do this all the time'…"
Jewel made a strangled grunting sound. Nico and Pedro couldn't tell whether it was a growl or if she was trying to stop herself from laughing. They sincerely hoped it was the latter.
"Kids, go to bed," she managed to croak out. Her children, who couldn't tell her emotions either, waved goodnight to their uncles and fluttered off to the tiny adjoining hollow that served as their bedroom.
When they disappeared, Blu turned to Jewel. "I told you this would happen if we asked them to babysit."
"They're still alive, aren't they?" Pedro broke in.
"Good, you passed the most basic survival portion of the babysitting test."
"Seems like the most important one to me," Nico muttered.
Blu opened his mouth, then closed it again. "It worries me that I'm not at all surprised about you teaching my children the Cha Cha Slide."
"You two would have that memorized," Jewel noted.
"You know it. Your kids got some moves."
"Thank you, Pedro," Blu said, pride unwittingly interfering with his sarcastic tone. "I suppose we should also thank you for the favor."
"Seriously, guys, thanks." Jewel gingerly fixed the flower resting in her head feathers. "It's been a while since we got to go on a romantic date."
"No prob," Pedro said.
"Anytime you need us to watch the Blue Crew, we're on it," Nico agreed.
"Good to know." Appreciation was prevalent in Jewel's tone. "But next time…try to get them in bed on time, will you?"
"You're the mama bird."
"Yes I am."
"What are you guys doing the rest of tonight?" Blu asked.
"We're stopping in at The Branch," Nico replied. "Miguel's been begging us to perform 'More' again."
Jewel laughed. "They're still asking you about it? It's been what, two weeks?"
Pedro smiled, crossing his arms. "You know it."
"Good for you, guys," Jewel said amiably. Then she narrowed her eyes. "I see you."
Confused, Nico and Pedro looked behind them, where all three Blue Macaw children were peeking around the corner of their mini hollow. Their little heads disappeared, but their giggling did not.
Blu frowned. "Great. Now they're all wound up."
"It'll be fine," Pedro said dismissively.
"Easy for you to say. You get to leave."
"Speaking of which, we'd better hurry up and get to The Branch." Nico fluttered towards the hollow exit. "Miguel promised us a surprise."
"Sounds exciting," Jewel said. "Good night, guys!"
Nico dove out into the night sky, Pedro struggling to keep up with him.
"Okay, I know you missed flying, but that does not mean you have to make up for it by flying everywhere like you're in a race," he cried after the disappearing canary.
Nico did a few loop-de-loops until Pedro caught up. "You're just jealous."
"Wouldn't it be are?"
The two birds laughed, now flying side by side.
Later, they were still laughing. But it was much harder to laugh and stuff your face with chocolate cake at the same time.
Nico swallowed, grabbing a thimble (with plastic wrap inside) full of milk and chugging it before the cake had even slid down his throat. He gulped, slammed the thimble down, and tore off another piece of chocolate cake.
Pedro wasn't even pausing to drink his own thimble of milk, but instead tearing off cake with both hands to increase his eating input.
"Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!"
Pedro, mouth completely full of chocolatey goodness, raised both his hands in exhilaration. The crowd watching the eating contest cheered at his excitement. The cardinal chewed and swallowed violently, and then reached for the last three chunks of his half of the cake.
Nico, sensing Pedro closing in for the kill, abandoned his second drink of milk in favor of sticking his face in the still considerable amount of cake he had left. The birds on Nico's side urged him on with yells of "Go for it!" and "Stuff it!"
Pedro somehow managed to down all three chunks of his cake in one bite and raised his arms again, this time in victory. A bell rang, and Miguel the pelican walked over, was going to hold up Pedro's arm but realized it was already up, and announced him as the winner.
About three fourths of the crowd cheered wildly, and one fourth groaned. Shiny human coins changed hands among the varied sounds of triumph and disappointment.
Nico swallowed, drank some more of his milk, and very nearly collapsed on the large paper plate still holding the remainders of his cake. "No….fair," he wheezed at Pedro. "You…always…beat me…."
Miguel grunted. "Which is unfortunate. Because my bet was on you…" he stopped complaining as Rafael waded his way to the front of the crowd, holding his hand out expectantly. Miguel reluctantly handed the toucan two copper coins.
"Thank you," Rafael said smugly. "Like I told you earlier—Pedro is far more equipped for a chocolate cake eating contest than our little canary friend."
Nico frowned and Pedro smiled, still trying to chew some remaining cake in his mouth. "You got that right." He swallowed, very nearly gagging himself. "I need some milk. Pronto."
"You have a thimble right there." Miguel pointed to the thimble lined with plastic wrap that Pedro hadn't touched since beginning the contest. Pedro dove for it, gulping like a camel gulps water after three days in the desert.
"But the payout is so much better for the underdog," Miguel continued, whining just a little bit. "I would have gotten, like, 10 peonies if he'd won instead of the two I had to fork over to you."
"I think Blu said they're called pennies. Peonies are flowers."
"Oh. He was right about them being shiny."
"I know. My kids love them. Whenever they use them as frisbees, they throw it and stop completely to watch the light bounce off of them. It's awesome."
"Because it looks cool?"
"Because then no one catches it and they have to waste tons of energy looking for it."
"Ah. Still should've bet on Pedro."
Nico, who had fallen into the chocolate crumbs on the plate long ago, sat up groggily. He pointed at Miguel, then Rafael, alternating his accusatory finger. "I know this is late, but I don't appreciate the whole underdog thing."
"But you are the underdog," Miguel said.
"Don't mean I appreciate it."
"You gotta admit that your size—"
Nico's glare stopped Miguel from continuing. The pelican finally noticed Rafael waving his arms wildly in the background, although by now it was too late for the toucan's attempted intervention.
Pedro nudged Miguel. "Tell him you thought his size would be an advantage—he could burrow into the cake and eat it from the inside out," he whispered.
"I misspoke. I meant to say that I thought your size would be an advantage because you could get farther into the cake and eat it from the inside."
Nico smiled and crossed his arms. "Got that right."
Miguel leaned back towards Pedro, whispering, "Does he know he's insane?"
"He chooses to ignore it."
"Anyway," Rafael said in an attempt to change the conversation, "you guys ready for tomorrow night?"
"What's happening tomorrow?" Nico asked.
Rafael went to the plate and helped Nico up, dusting chocolate crumbs off the little canary. "We're watching 21 with Richie!"
"Oh yeah!" Pedro exclaimed. "We'll finally get to know what happened to Raoul!"
"What happened to Raoul?" Miguel asked. "He got banished."
"We know that part. But we don't know what happened before that."
"All we did was beat him up—"
Rafael waved wildly, but was once again too late to prevent Miguel from saying something he shouldn't.
"WHAT?" Nico and Pedro burst.
"I mean…um…wait, Raf, what else was I supposed to say?"
"That's all you did?" Nico yelled. "How anticlimactic is that?"
"The dude tried to kill us!" Pedro joined in.
"And he hired a cat! A CAT!"
"That's seriously messed up."
"Guys, what else did you want us to—"
Rafael snickered as Miguel tried to explain.
"Well, nothing, but now you ruined the ending!" Nico said, clearly exasperated—his bottle cap rested sideways on his head and he was doing nothing to fix it.
Rafael continued snickering. "You guys were ticked that I wouldn't tell you and you had to wait, and now you're mad at Miguel for 'ruining the surprise'?"
"Makes perfect sense to me," Pedro pouted, arms crossed.
"Well the bouncers dealt with it very well," Miguel said. "So rest assured that he won't be coming back here anytime soon."
"We ain't afraid," Pedro said defiantly. "Just mad that you ruined the ending."
"There is no way you can be angry with me. I gave you chocolate cake."
"Yeah, some surprise that was," Nico muttered. "Then you talked us into an eating contest and now I feel like I might die from overeating." He put a hand over his stomach and whimpered for extra effect.
"Yeah, isn't gluten one of the seven deadly sins?"
"It's gluttony, Pedro."
"Oh. Well still." The cardinal pointed at Miguel. "Now if we die and go to the bad place, it's all your fault."
Miguel clearly had no idea how to fix this conversation. "Uh-huh. I'm going home. I'll see you guys in a few nights when you perform your Branch song again."
"We might change our minds." Pedro looked snootily at his fingernails, or where his fingernails would be if they weren't feathers.
"Yeah, okay," Miguel muttered. "Good night." The pelican took off, following the vacating crowd. Nico and Pedro's cake eating contest had been the last event of the evening.
Rafael turned to Nico and Pedro, who were shakily experimenting with motion to see if they could handle it just yet. "Come by my hollow tomorrow night around seven," he said. "Then we'll head off to Richie's."
"Your hollow?" Pedro's voice was filled with dread.
"Why can't you come by our hollow?" Nico asked.
"I promised Eva I'd be there for dinner tomorrow. We can leave as soon as I'm done."
"Oh, come on, guys, you can just wait outside. My kids will be eating."
"Including Juan?" Pedro absently rubbed his right wing, which until recently had been missing a feather.
"You gotta be ready to go soon as we get there," Nico said strictly.
"I will be."
"Okay. Then we'll see you tomorrow night."
"Awright," Rafael said, preparing to take off. "Have fun flying, Nico!" He hadn't had to fly Nico places for about a week now, but he found the canary's sudden vigor for flying absolutely hilarious.
"Why does he think that's so funny?" Nico asked. "I'd like to see him go for a week without flying."
"Race you home!" Pedro yelled from the sky, already a disappearing speck.
Nico realized Pedro had taken off while he mused to himself, and adjusted his bottle cap accordingly for flight. "Cheaters never win!"
"Yes they do! It's why they cheat!"
Nico propelled himself off the ground, channeling every bit of energy pent up in his little body to beat Pedro home.
"It's…this one!" Rafael cried, coming in for a landing atop the roof of a store bearing the sign A Loja de Muitos Filmes. He leaned over the edge, peering into the window of the room above the ground level store, and knocked on it with his beak.
The creak of the window opening was accompanied by a nasally voice. "Hey Rafael!"
"Hey Richie!" Rafael gestured to Nico and Pedro to follow him, flying off the roof and in through the window. "What's up, man?"
"Nothing much!" The vivid yellow parakeet closed the window behind his three guests. "Hey Nico, Pedro, how you doing?"
"Good, man," Nico said genially. "Thanks for inviting us to your sweet pad."
"This? Ah, it's nothing. Just an empty apartment stocked with food. And a Panasonic TC-PVT30, complete with a Logitech Z-5500 sound system."
"It's an HD TV."
"You got the movie?" Rafael asked Richie.
"Duh. I don't have an entire ground floor of movies for nothing." Richie pointed to the left, where the case for 21 lay on a large L-shaped couch resting opposite a gigantic television. DVD cases, candy wrappers, empty bags of popcorn, and video game controllers surrounded the TV in a heap of bachelor pad themed promise.
"How long has your owner been gone?" Pedro asked, still scanning the piles of trash as if expecting the Holy Grail to appear out of nowhere.
"Anyway, help yourselves to some grub," Richie said, this time pointing to the right into a tiny kitchenette. More bags of popcorn, these ones full, littered the countertops, along with soda cans and various frozen dinners. "I'll pop in the movie."
With that, Richie fluttered over into the living room, kicking aside trash in search of the remote. Nico, Pedro, and Rafael hopped into the kitchen, eagerly surveying their dinner options.
"You have spaghetti?" Nico cried, nearly falling over a box bearing a bright picture of noodles bathed in tomato sauce.
"And macaroni and cheese?" Pedro shared his friend's exaltation as he discovered his own favorite pasta.
"I'm lucky enough to have an owner that never cooks," Richie said. "And I mean never."
Rafael, who had already eaten, helped himself to a large sugar cookie from a glass jar at the end of the countertop. "Ah, the bachelor life."
"Oh, Eduardo's a bachelor all right."
"Pedro, split a Cherry Coke with me," Nico said, having miraculously opened the fridge and discovered the artificially flavored wonders that awaited him there.
"No way, I want a regular." Pedro came to flutter behind his friend.
"A regular? Over cherry?"
"Nah, it ain't."
"Besides, I want my own."
"There is no way you can drink an entire soda on your own."
"Yeah I can. They're only the half-size ones."
"You never finish half anyway!"
"I'll take that as a challenge."
"You are on."
Pedro smirked and knocked two Cokes onto the floor, one regular and one cherry. Nico, channeling all his weight and force, managed to push the refrigerator door closed before joining Pedro in rolling the sodas into the living room.
"Check me out, bro!" Pedro hopped on top of his, balancing as if he were on a rolling log.
"That's nothin'!" Nico jumped on his own Coke, trying to roll as effectively as Pedro. He gained speed quickly, coming up fast behind his friend.
"Dude, slow down—"
Nico crashed into Pedro's can. The impact jarred the canary off and into the cardinal. Both birds flipped into the air, miraculously staying aloft long enough for the soda cans to roll away underneath them, leaving a bare hardwood floor for them to land on.
Pedro hit the floor first, Nico following closely. He landed on Pedro's rotund belly and bounced off, laughing even as his head struck the wooden floor.
"We have to do that again!"
Pedro struggled to break coherent words through his laughter. "We—haha, we gotta!"
Richie was peering over the edge of the sofa at the spectacle, head resting on his arms. "That was like straight up Donkey Kong!"
Nico and Pedro looked at Richie with baffled expressions, laughter a little less intense.
"You know…like…the barrels…you have to jump over them…"
Nico and Pedro blinked, laughter completely surrendering to puzzlement.
"Oh, come on, you guys don't know Donkey Kong?"
They shook their heads. Rafael, still snacking on sugar cookies in the kitchen, also shook his head.
Richie rolled his eyes. "Unbelievable. But hey, I found the remote." He brandished the gray clicker like he had found Excalibur itself. "What do you say we start the flick?"
Pedro jumped up, pushing Nico back onto the floor before the canary could fully stand.
"Dude, no fair!"
"I want the corner seat," Pedro called, hauling his soda up onto the coffee table and settling into the bend of the couch.
"You're not the only one," Nico replied in a mock competitive tone. He turned to Rafael. "Hey Ralfy, help me out."
Rafael picked up Nico's half-size soda and hurled it at Pedro. Pedro ducked, although the can had been aimed to hit the couch well above the cardinal's head.
"I don't respond to no threats!"
Nico fluttered to Pedro's side, where his Cherry Coke had landed. He kicked aside the soda, making room to sit beside his best friend. "Just shut up so Richie can start the movie."
"Finally," the parakeet said, laughing, from the other side of the room. He dimmed down the lights, shrouding the birds in perfect film viewing darkness.
"This is nice." Rafael, sitting on the other side of Nico's soda, sounded genuinely impressed.
"Thanks, Raf." Richie plopped down next to Rafael, flipping through the previews. When he got to the main menu, Nico and Pedro excitedly opened their sodas.
The soda practically exploded from the cans, dousing both birds in sticky, bubbly Coke. Rafael and Richie burst out laughing at Nico and Pedro's taken aback expressions.
"Did you really expect that not to happen after rolling them across the floor?" Rafael asked.
"We probably should have thought of that," Nico mused.
Richie threw a roll of paper towels at them. "Don't worry about the mess. Eduardo's couch has so many stains he won't notice a couple more."
Nico and Pedro each tore off a paper towel, scrubbing themselves relatively dry.
"Gotta admit, that was kind of cool. Like when you hold a bomb too long in minigames."
Richie was once again met by blank stares.
"Mario Party? Anyone?"
Nico and Pedro blinked from behind their paper towels. Rafael shook his head again.
"What is with you people? And you haven't seen 21…" The parakeet shook his head in disappointment. "Well, sit back and enjoy. 'Cuz it's starting now."
Nico dropped his piece of popcorn as Cole Williams landed another punch across gambler Ben Campbell's face. This time, the Security Chief wore rings for maximum punching effect.
Pedro looked a little less alarmed, but still mildly disoriented. "That's what they did to Raoul?"
"Well, they didn't wear rings, but you get the picture," Rafael said. He and Richie continued shoveling in popcorn, almost completely unfazed by the violent action taking place on screen.
"Seems like kind of a serious reaction," Nico observed, shakily retrieving his popcorn and sucking some more soda with the straw Richie had provided. "All he's doing is using math to his advantage."
"It's making the casino lose money."
"That's like saying reading a lot makes the library go out of business."
"Hey, there's money involved. Drastic measures had to be taken. And you know what Raoul did. So…this is what happened."
Nico stared at the screen, where the casino Security Chief continued to whale on the main character, haplessly tied to a chair. Nico didn't have a weak constitution, nor was the scene really terribly violent, but something about it was throwing him off.
The feeling passed along with the scene. The credits rolled and Richie turned the lights back on."What you guys think?"
"I liked it," Nico piped.
"Eh, it was okay," Pedro said. "Needed some more action."
"And Ben Campbell being punched in the face wasn't enough for you?"
"It was like one scene!"
"True, but there's all that other heist escape stuff at the end."
"I prefer James Bond's take on casinos."
Richie laughed. "Do you guys want some cookies? I'm going to grab some from the kitchen."
"Stop offering," Rafael said. "You're making me fat."
Nico dipped his finger in the spaghetti sauce remaining from the TV dinner he'd shared with Rafael, whose stomach had growled about an hour into the movie. "I'm good for now."
"I'll take some cookies," Pedro said. His macaroni dinner had been licked clean.
Richie returned a moment later, bearing a bag of Chips Ahoy!, a box of Sour Patch Kids, and a box of Fruit by the Foot all expertly arranged in his claws. "I just grabbed a whole bunch of stuff."
Pedro's eyes strongly resembled starlit constellations. "Fruit by the Foot? This Eduardo guy is awesome."
"Yeah. He eats this stuff like they're power-ups from Hyrule Temple."
For the third time that night, all three of Richie's guests stared blankly at the yellow parakeet.
"You know, like when the food falls from the sky in Super Smash Bros?"
As usual, he was met with silence.
"Okay okay okay, you've never played Super Smash Bros?"
Rafael, Nico, and Pedro shook their heads in unison.
"We have to fix this." Richie dropped the snacks and flew to his television. He opened the bottom cabinet of the TV case, revealing at least four shiny gaming systems. He messed with the wires for a small white one, then turned things on and changed some channels.
"We'll have to use this one, the GameCube and the N64 are both in storage. This also means we'll have to play Melee, but that's the best one anyway."
The word "Wii" flashed across the screen, and Richie quickly started plugging in controllers. Before they knew it, Rafael, Nico, and Pedro each had a black video game controller in front of them.
"Luckily, Eduardo kept the GameCube controllers up here. He plays this sometimes. And Animal Crossing. But I don't like that game. The bird characters are a little offensive."
Richie suddenly realized that his guests had no idea what he was talking about. "Oh, sorry. Okay, this game is called Super Smash Bros for a reason," he began explaining as the main screen loaded. "Basically, you pick a character, and then whale on each other. Go ahead, pick someone."
Each bird stared blankly at his controller. Pedro poked the joystick, causing one of the gloved hands on screen to move. "Did I do that?"
"There you go! Just move the gray thing to move around. And then press the big green 'A' button to select a character."
"Oo, this guy's got a sword," Pedro said, choosing a blond guy wearing green.
"That's Link. He's also got arrows."
"Who's this dude?" Nico asked, hovering over a small yellow thing with brown stripes. "I like his coloring."
"Awright, I'ma be him."
"Rafael?" Richie turned expectantly to the toucan, fiddling with his joystick in indecision over two characters.
"I can't decide between the big green monster, or the giant monkey."
"You mean Bowser and Donkey Kong? Oh, I'd go with Donkey Kong first. Bowser takes some getting used to."
"If you say so."
Richie smiled, clearly thrilled at the promise of bringing new blood into the world of Super Smash Bros. He moved his icon to a small pink thing that looked a little like a balloon. "I'll be Kirby."
With that, he pressed the 'Start' button. "We're in for a long night."
And so it begins.
If you liked it, review it, if you didn't, still review. I'd like to know negative things too, because how else will I know what to fix?
Seriously, I hope you like it so far! And seriously...review. :)