Okay, I know I said 3 chapters, but...I'm going to have to make it even longer...
HA. KIDDING. This is the last chapter. Here we go.
Blu's expression was somewhere between hate and pure fear as he stepped onto the awaiting tube. At the moment it was bobbing gently in the water, but the Blue Macaw knew that in less than a minute it would be racing at unnatural speeds across the churning waves. In what kind of a sport was the objective to make staying on the one thing separating you from life and death the hardest possible feat?
Stupid Jewel. And her…femaleness.
The female in question, sitting on the tube to Blu's right, batted her eyelashes. "You're going to love this, Blu."
Stupid Jewel. And her femaleness. "I hate you."
"I love you too."
"Are we going to go?" Pedro asked impatiently. Nico sat next to him, an equally impatient look on his face. The two had agreed to share a tube so all four of them could go at once, and as the two littlest birds, had no problem fitting on a tube together. Besides, as Jorge had put it, adding Nico was like adding air.
"Wait! I'm not ready—"
Blu yelped as the tubes started moving. He scrabbled frantically for the toothpicks sticking through the duct tape, and once he was confident in his deathlike grip, glared over at Nico and Pedro. They smirked at him, each nonchalantly holding onto a toothpick like it was not their one chance at survival, but rather a balloon they didn't want to lose at a fair.
The speed rose, and with it, so did the intensity of Blu's grip. His expression must have tightened as well, because Jewel glanced over and started laughing.
"Blu, honey, they're not even going fast yet, we're going like two miles an hour."
"That's two miles an hour too fast!"
"GO PAPA!" Blu's attention was momentarily diverted from Jewel's face to the beach, where three little blue specks jumped up and down and waved ferociously.
"Your kids think you're brave."
"They're not going to have a father to think well of at the end of this." Blu was about to add another snarky comment, but the speed suddenly upped, startling him into practically crushing the toothpicks in his grip. "TOO FAST TOO FAST TOO FAST TOO FAST."
The seagulls didn't seem to take stock in Blu's opinion at all, because the tubes suddenly went from gliding to racing speed. As the speed grew, so did the intensity of the waves, and Blu experienced his first taste of tube turbulence.
He didn't like it at all.
He screamed as he bounced to and fro on the tube, trying desperately to stay on something solid, no matter how questionable that solidity may be. His left foot slipped and touched the water, and he quickly pulled it back in, surprised that the sheer sucking velocity of the water beneath him had not dragged him down to its murky depths.
Laughter on each side accompanied his screams, mocking their very existence. Blu frowned and glared at the party birds' tube, where Nico and Pedro were rather enjoying trying to push the other off. Pedro seemed to be winning.
"BLU! How are you liking it?"
Blu tore his eyes away from the fight breaking out on the tube to his left. "NOT AT ALL, JEWEL."
"Oh, come on! You haven't fallen off once!"
"Yeah, by some MIRACLE."
"Well, I guess if you'd like to stop—"
Blu was about to voice his hearty agreement to this suggestion when his tube suddenly sped to the right. It grew closer to Jewel with every second, but then again Jewel's tube was also coursing off to the right at an alarming speed.
He had been whipped.
The spike in speed alone elicited a scream from Blu, but he suddenly slammed into Jewel's tube, his tight grip the only reason he didn't fly off. The solid impact stopped the scream short in his mouth, and before he could get another one through, another slam came from behind. He felt tiny feathers graze his for a second, and looked over to see Nico halfway between his tube and Blu's.
The whip straightened out as suddenly as it had occurred, and Nico and Pedro's tube veered the other way, Nico violently popping back from mid-air and slamming into Pedro. The two could not stop laughing, despite the fact that Nico had just avoided a very painful death by suffocation between two tubes.
Blu's tube had barely gotten back on course before it veered to the left. His sigh of relief caught halfway in his throat when he realized the seagulls had followed their whip with another one, sending them in the opposite direction and exponentially increasing their velocity.
Blu didn't even have time to scream before his tube smacked into Nico and Pedro's. The collision jarred their hands from their respective toothpicks, and they might have been able to grab on again fast enough if Jewel hadn't slammed into Blu immediately after.
The second collision sent shock waves through Blu's tube to Nico and Pedro's, who had no hope of grabbing onto anything stationary on their fairly vibrating tube. They were still moving; the speed grew with every second, not to mention the intensity of the waves they were continually bouncing over.
A second later they hit a particularly large wave head-on. The tube practically threw Nico and Pedro off, and they were a good foot in the air before they dropped like dumbbells.
They landed right on top of Blu.
Pedro slammed into Blu first, knocking him down flat on the tube. Blu struggled to push himself up, but Nico landed on top of Pedro seconds after, sending Blu right back to the face-down position. The sudden increase of weight on that tube sent it coursing to the right, where it collided with Jewel.
The collision tipped the tube, and Nico slipped from the top of the bird-pile straight onto Jewel. He sent her dangerously close to the edge, but she managed to stay her balance, her frantic swaying moving the tube back and forth with a dangerous intensity.
Pedro had just managed to clamber off of Blu when the swaying tipped Nico back onto the middle tube. Blu sat up only to be kicked down again by a face full of canary.
By now, the tube was going even faster, and the tube was not nearly big enough to support three birds. Blu felt his tail feathers grazing the water, and sheer survival instinct took over: he pushed Nico off.
Nico went right back onto Jewel's tube.
"NICO! GO AWAY!"
"YOUR BOYFRIEND PUSHED ME ON HERE!"
Both tubes, still dangerously close to one another, rocked against another large wave. Jewel and Nico received the brunt of it: the hit was so solid that water pushed its way over the edges of the tube, falling down like rain onto the two birds, who were already having a tough time staying on without grasping the toothpick handles. The water made the surface slippery, and Jewel finally lost her balance. She tipped over right on top of Nico, smashing him in a very awkward position between the two tubes while she slammed in between Blu and Pedro on the middle one. Nico, although more in the water than out of it, managed to cling onto the edge of the middle tube, pulling himself up and grabbing onto one of the toothpicks.
Now all four of them were on one tube.
The seagulls had not failed to notice this.
Taking advantage of the situation, Jorge and Hugo, the two outside tubes, had each grabbed onto a section of rope from Louis. The three seagulls combined made the speed almost triple.
Nico was the only one holding onto a toothpick. Pedro, near the back, clambered over Blu and Jewel to throw a hand on Nico's, all the while trying to push Nico off. Nico braced himself the best he could, trying to deny Pedro the safety of a grip.
Blu, still lying on his stomach, shot his hand out in a desperate attempt to grab the toothpick to his left. His hand hit Jewel's, and suddenly the two Blue Macaws and the cardinal and canary were in two separate fights.
Nico was about to fall off when the tube hit another wave. All four birds bounced dangerously, but Nico, already precariously on the edge, actually lost his footing. His hand still clutched the toothpick, however, which kept him from completely falling off. Instead, he flew out sideways like a flag during a windstorm. The tube coursed to the left, which sent him in a circle around the toothpick. His feet nearly collided with Blu's face, but the Blue Macaw ducked just in time, inadvertently leaving Jewel exposed.
Nico lost his grip on the toothpick and slammed into Jewel (again). Jewel's impressive balancing skills kept her, and Nico, from falling into the water, although she was teetering over the edge. Nico, balancing precariously on Jewel's shoulder, frantically reached for something to hold onto. His hands found Blu's feathers.
Blu felt himself being dragged off the tube. Survival instincts kicked in once again. He practically karate chopped Nico's hands off, following it up with a rough push. The push sent both Nico and Jewel over the edge, both of them hitting with the water with such force that spray rose up and doused Blu and Pedro.
The spray sent Blu reeling back. Pedro, sensing an unprecedented opportunity, stuck his foot out. Blu tripped backwards, although he wasn't quite near enough the edge to fully fall off—instead, he landed rudely on his back, rocking and vibrating the entire tube. Pedro tottered, nearly falling on top of Blu. Blu responded by punching and kicking the cardinal simultaneously.
The combined force of Blu's defensive mechanisms sent Pedro soaring in front of the tube. For a split second, the cardinal had hold of the connecting rope, his little feet dangling dangerously into the water. Then the tube hit a wave, which pushed Pedro straight into the side of the tube, where he rested, face-first, against the burning rubber for only a second before the churning water dragged him down.
Blu put one hand on each of the toothpicks, silently thanking the gods above that he had room to breathe.
The tube slowed down, and Blu realized that this was because he was alone.
Relief, shock, concern, and paranoia all buffeted him at once. He whipped around to see Jewel, Nico, and Pedro bobbing in the water, looking at the Blue Macaw with open mouths. The children staring from the beach looked no less aghast.
"You punched me," Pedro said as he gasped for breath. "And kicked me. AT THE SAME TIME."
"You almost cut off my hand!" Nico cried.
"You pushed me off!" Jewel toned.
Blu remained silent, trembling so much the tube was almost vibrating.
"Are you okay?"
Blu finally opened his mouth, although words didn't flow out right away. He gulped before announcing, "That. Was. AWESOME."
All three birds floating in the water physically reeled back. "What?"
"THAT WAS THE COOLEST THING I'VE EVER DONE."
"You almost killed us!" Nico practically squeaked.
"DID YOU SEE ME? I WAS LIKE PISHAW! AND FWIPA! AND BAYAAAA!"
Pedro cocked his head. "Are those even noises?"
"YOU TRIED TO KICK ME OFF! AND YOU COULDN'T! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Jewel rolled her eyes. "Well this figures."
Blu was now strutting to and fro on his tube, his trembling having completely evaporated. "YEAH! THAT'LL TEACH YOU TO MESS WITH TYLER BLU GUNDERSON! TYLER BLU GUNDERSON OWNED THAT TUBE!"
"Now he's using third person…"
"I'm sorry, who beat Tyler Blu Gunderson? Oh, that's right. NO ONE."
"We never should have introduced him to tubing," Nico said drily. "Nice going, Jewel."
"WHO'S UP FOR ROUND TWO?"
"I ain't goin' back on there with you!" Pedro said adamantly.
"I was more scared during that than when I got hit by a firework!" Nico agreed.
"Blu, honey, I'd honestly rather teach you to fly again."
"No one's going tubing with me? Why?"
Pedro actually tried to paddle backwards as he stated, with a note of finality, "You're scary."
The tubes were in, the seagulls had bid goodbye, and Blu's adrenaline had finally run its course a few minutes later.
"I mean, guys, you have to admit that I was pretty sweet—"
"We did!" Nico and Pedro cried simultaneously as they pushed the kids, whose mouths were still agape, towards their mother.
"Blu, we'll hide the tubes in a bush or something tonight and do it again later," she said. "Honestly."
"We already told you we'd set up a tournament," Nico added. Everyone else's fear had abated along with Blu's adrenaline, and everyone, even the kids, was excited at the prospect of a new game.
"I know, I know! But I was awesome!"
"Papa," Javier finally said, his mouth finally managing to form a word, "will you teach me your ways?"
"Yes, son. I will teach you."
"Wait! I want to learn too!"
"You are also my son, Rey. You are included."
"What about me?"
"Abelina, you may also learn."
"Can we tube tomorrow night?"
"We're going to The Branch tomorrow night."
"Well, we as in me and your mother."
All three kids stopped walking and wheeled around to angrily face their father. "What?"
"Oh, I don't think you were supposed to know that…"
"No, they weren't." Jewel frowned at Blu. "Kids, you'll be asleep by then anyway."
"Are you performing?" Javier asked Pedro.
"Yeah." Nico punched Pedro in the arm. "I mean no."
"I thought The Branch was okay!"
"Only for sometimes, Javier," Jewel said. "Now let's get going, we can't walk all the way to our tree."
"BUT I WANNA GO TOO!"
"With that kind of attitude, you're definitely not going," Jewel deadpanned. "Come on, let's go. Flap those wings."
Javier, Rey, and Abelina sulkily took off, flying just a little bit faster than normal to put greater distance between them and their parents. Jewel rolled her eyes and glared sideways at Blu.
"What?" he asked. "When we get home I'll just tell him I'll push him off a tube if he keeps sulking."
Jewel laughed and ascended into the air. Blu blinked at her departing form and glanced at Nico and Pedro. "What'd I say?"
They shrugged, chuckled, and flew away. "We'll see you tomorrow night!"
"Yeah." Blu shook his head and rapidly took to the air to catch up to Jewel. "WAIT! JEWEL! We are going tubing again, aren't we?"
The end. Just a cute fluff. And yes, I totally put in a lead-in to my next story, they are going to The Branch tomorrow night. We'll just see if anything...*ahem*...special and/or interesting...happens there. Yeah.