Hello everyone! Long time no read, eh? I meant to get up my newest Rio fic MUCH sooner than this...ah, how things fail.

Before I lead into the story, I would like to give a round of thanks! First, to Qille (again), who as usual has proven extremely useful in brainstorming and just being overall awesome. Second, to a user who signed an anonymous review "EmK". EmK, thank you SO much for that wonderful review! It made me so happy I couldn't STAND it! I'm so glad your siblings liked my stories and it makes me feel so good that you were reading them aloud to them! I had been working very halfheartedly on this story when I got your review, and you inspired me to actually finish it in a decent amount of time! Thankyouthankyouthankyou! First chapter is dedicated to you. Wish I could message you. (Hint hint: get an account.)

One more thing: There is a song in this chapter! Well, technically two, but only one of them is really detailed. Neither "Buddy Wars" nor "Tubular" had any songs in them. I'm making up for that. This story is going to be heavily musical. (Hence the title.) The song, if you wish to look it up to listen to it as you read the lyrics, (which I recommend), is called "Till the World Ends" by Britney Spears. Yes, Britney Spears. It will make sense.

Without further ado, the first chapter of "Musical Chairs!" Enjoy!


He was ill. So very, very ill.

Naturally, no one believed him. For whatever reason, Blu's credibility did not rank very highly among his friends. He would be more offended by this obvious lack of credulity if he did not already waste so much energy trying to deflect it.

"I'm telling you I'm sick."

"No, you're not."

"I'm telling you I'm sick."

"You feel fine."

"I do not."

"You just don't want to do karaoke."

Oh, yes. Blu was very, very ill. Partly because the love of his life was so blatantly betraying him.

"I can't do karaoke because I'm sick."

"Get over it, Blu, we signed up for it last week."

"You signed up for it last week."

"But I also put in your name."

"Which I think violates the vow you made at our wedding."

"I made no such vow."

"I clearly remember you promising to stay with me in sickness or in health—"

"Does karaoke not count as either of those things? I'm staying with you, aren't I?"

Blu stuttered. "Karaoke is an entirely different category. And if it were, it would be sickness, because I'm sick."

"It's health, honey."

"Sickness!"

"Health!"

"SHUT UP!" Pedro yelled, much to the relief of his companions. Nico sat next to him, slumped against the wooden music box serving as their table, bottle cap completely covering his face in an effort to block out the bickering macaws from both sight and hearing. Rafael had tried a similar endeavor by covering his face with a large black wing. And Pedro just looked like he wanted to smack his head across the table and end his misery forever. "You've been doing this for 20 minutes."

"But I'm si—"

"Blu, if you say you're sick one more time, I am going to make you the godfather of my children. Then when I die, you'll have to raise them," Rafael deadpanned, eyes squinted shut behind his pinching wing.

Blu gulped at this very real threat. "But I am—"

"Are your feathers insured, Blu?"

Blu slumped in his chair. Defeat ran across his anxious face. "I don't want to sing."

"It'll be good for you. Might even cure your sickness." Jewel smirked as Blu shot her a glare packed with malice. He opened his mouth with one last remark before they heard someone yell, "Blu! Jewel! You're up!"

His remark died mid-air as Jewel smiled, grabbed her partner's wing, and guided him through the crowded Branch towards the main stage.

The Branch was busier than ever that night. Just a few weeks ago, the club had been ransacked by monkeys in what was sure to go down in history as the fiercest battle ever to be fought between the avian and simian races. Although the former had won, (thanks to a skateboard, a water gun, and an inconceivable amount of luck on Nico and Pedro's side), the club had been nearly decimated. Broken equipment, overturned carts, torn drapes, and bruised fruit littered the alley. Although some had suggested moving the location of The Branch so as to avoid another attack, this suggestion had been refuted because of The Branch's already ideal situation. The club was almost in the middle of the city, making it a fairly equal distance for all commuting birds, the humans never noticed it because of the artful camouflage, and the club was already comfortably established. No one felt like moving it, and, in truth, they were a little too lazy to do anything but clean the place up.

Besides, as Nico and Pedro had pointed out, The Branch's current unmoved location would be the last place the monkeys looked if they really felt like hunting it down again. Much to Nico and Pedro's chagrin, no one realized the wisdom of this statement until a few days after it was suggested.

Then clean-up began. Clearing away the refuse strewn about the alley and repairing the hanging drapes turned out to be easier than anyone thought, and Nico and Pedro somehow managed to secure brand new equipment. No one was quite sure how, and the two birds hadn't volunteered any information. Everyone dropped the issue in the face of some new strobe lights, a turntable, a speaker system, and, to their delight, a karaoke machine.

Tonight was the night they broke it out. The grand re-opening of The Branch called for something special, and now birds who didn't normally perform could go up and sing their little hearts out. Rafael, who usually abstained from singing even though he was the King of Samba, had gone up for the first try.

Now Blu and Jewel took the stage and hoisted up the microphones that were the same size as them. Well, Jewel took the stage and the microphone; Blu didn't so much take anything as have it thrown at him against his will.

He glared at Jewel again as he righted his microphone, weakly coughing as if this would truly convince her he was unable to do anything remotely close to karaoke. Jewel completely ignored him as she scrolled through the list of songs on the screen. Her face lit up as she found one.

"Okay, Blu, your lyrics are in yellow."

A familiar diddy started up and the crowd cheered. Pedro smirked. "They would choose this song."

"What's wrong with this song?" Nico asked, already bobbing his head and foot (the latter against the overturned cup he was sitting on because his feet couldn't reach the floor) to the all-too familiar beat.

Rafael was laughing in agreement. "I'm going to get up closer," he said excitedly, pushing his way through the same path Blu and Jewel had followed.

Blu, who looked both relieved and extra anxious about the song choice, missed his starting cue and frantically tried to make up for it. "Sumin….had me blast…"

Jewel, trying desperately to keep from laughing, chimed in right on time: "Summer lovin', happened so faaaaaast!"

"I met a girl, crazy for me?"

"Met a boy, cute as can be!"

Jewel sauntered over to Blu, who looked much less nervous with her right next to him, to sing the simultaneous line: "Summer days, duh-riftin' away to uh, oh, those sum-mer nights!"

The crowd ecstatically helped them out with the next part: "A WELL-A WELL-A WELL-A HUH!"

"TELL ME MORE! TELL ME MORE! DIDJA GET VERY FAR?" Nico and Pedro screamed at the top of their lungs, now standing on their table.

Numerous female voices followed up with, "TELL ME MORE! TELL ME MORE! LIKE DID HE HAVE A CAR?"

One clear voice behind them prevented Nico and Pedro from joining the chorus of "Uh-huh"'s ringing out through the club. They turned to see a bright pink finch standing smugly behind their table. She was too short to fully see over the music box, but standing atop the wood, Nico and Pedro had no problem viewing her bratty expression.

They slunk down onto the overturned cups that served as stools. "What do you want, Calysta?" Nico asked.

"Nothin'. Just joining in the fun."

"You mean you were excluded before? Imagine that…"

She rolled her eyes and clambered onto Blu's abandoned seat, next to Pedro. "You know, at first I thought the karaoke machine was kind of stupid."

Nico raised his eyebrows. "Why?"

"Because then everyone gets to sing."

"Your point?"

"Well don't most of us sing or dance or something anyway?"

"You could just say thank you for bringing in a new toy," Pedro muttered.

"We already had enough performers in the club," she responded snarkily. "We don't need any more."

"Aw, are you afraid of a little competition?" Nico smirked.

"Afraid of that?" Calysta said, gesturing towards the stage.

Jewel was handling herself well. "We went strollin', drank lemonaaaaaaade!"

Blu was not. "We made out…what? Oh…under the dock?"

"We stayed out, 'til ten o'cloooock!"

Although Blu was looking warily at Jewel as if he'd offended her, she simply laughed and carried the next line on her own.

"Summer fling, don't mean a thing, but oh, oh, those sum-mer nights!"

Calysta turned back to Nico and Pedro with a sarcastic smile. "Your friend looks pretty hapless up there."

"He's always hapless," Pedro said.

"And yet look how much more popular he still is than you," Nico fired. Actually, the crowd really did love Blu; everyone knew him (it's hard not to know one of the only two Blue Macaws in Rio), and they seemed to be good-naturedly enjoying his karaoke performance.

Calysta frowned. "Yeah? Then by extension, they love me more than you."

"What?"

"It's an insult. You said the crowd loves Blu more, the crowd likes me better than you, ergo, you are worse than Blu."

"Wha?" Pedro laughed. "That insult didn't even make sense!"

Calysta glared knives at the cardinal, who took no notice and continued laughing. "You think you're so cool, don't you?"

"I know we're cool," Pedro choked through his laughter. "We don't need you admitting it."

"Don't twist your feathers in a bunch just because your songs are never as good as ours," Nico said coolly, lounging against the back wall.

"Who says?"

"Popular consensus."

"Yeah? I've got a new song to debut tonight when the karaoke's done."

"Yeah? So do we."

"Well then. We'll just see who's better. I'm up right after your friends."

"Summer dreams, ripped aaaat the seams…but, oh, oh…those sum-mer…niiiiiiiiiiiights!"

Everyone joined in the club's final chorus except Calysta, Nico, and Pedro, who had invented some sort of three-way staring contest. Mostly it involved Nico and Calysta exchanging icy glares as Pedro poked his little head up behind Nico's shoulder, trying desperately to make Calysta waver. She did not.

The song ended and the stage crew began to remove the karaoke machine as Miguel announced that karaoke hour was up, but to sign up for the time slot next week and stick around for some new songs being debuted by regular club performers.

"Hey, babe!" A red macaw skated in and draped a wing around Calysta's shoulders. "You're up next, sweetheart."

"Thanks, Bruno." Calysta harrumphed at Nico and Pedro and departed to prepare for her song, Bruno the red macaw following.

Blu and Jewel returned, Jewel looking exhilarated and Blu with an expression that would make anyone think he had just escaped certain death.

"Wasn't that fun?" Jewel prodded, reclaiming her seat.

"Not at all."

"Aw, you had fun."

"Maybe a little."

"Aw, you had more than a little fun."

"Maybe a lot."

"You guys were tight!" Pedro said, offering his hand for a fist bump. Both Macaws acquiesced. Blu looked a little better after the celebratory hand motion.

Rafael swooped in for his seat. "Good work, guys," he told Blu and Jewel before turning to Nico and Pedro. "Was that Calysta over here?"

"Yeah."

"Who's Calysta?" Jewel asked.

Pedro answered her question with a frown. "You don't want to know."

"I don't?"

"She's another performer," Nico all but growled. "If you can call her that."

Blu turned to Rafael. "Can we?"

"Yes."

"Well, she's all right," Nico admitted. "I mean, her songs are usually decent."

Rafael smirked. "You like that duo she does with Bruno."

"Bruno?" Jewel raised a quizzical eyebrow.

"Her boyfriend."

"He's worse than she is," Pedro muttered. "He's so sappy!"

"Do they perform together, or solo?"

"Both. He's sappy either way. She's just annoying either way." Pedro turned an accusing glare on Nico. "He likes this one song they perform together."

"Just the one! And so do you!"

"…okay. I do."

"What makes her so bad then?" Blu asked.

"Aw, she's been jealous of us since we started performing. She was the headliner before us, and then we came along, and she's just never gotten over it," Nico explained.

Rafael nodded. "She's kind of a brat. I use this word only because I don't want to say the alternative in front of Blu."

Blu shot Rafael a look of annoyance and opened his mouth, but Nico and Pedro shushed him. "She's going up! We want to see how bad her song is! We're right after her!"

"You are?" Jewel asked. "What are you singing?"

"It's a new one."

"You've been writing a new one?"

"Yep."

"How come we never knew about it?"

"They've got this secret rehearsal schedule," Rafael explained, rolling his eyes. "They don't like debuting their songs until the actual performance."

Nico and Pedro hushed the table again and everyone looked towards the stage, which had been darkened. Calysta's appeal instantly revealed itself—even in the relative darkness, her silhouette made all male birds close to the stage clamor for an even closer spot. Somehow, her small sultry smile was visible even without any lights.

The music started, a throbbing, catchy techno beat permeated by steady clapping. Calysta swayed her hips seductively. Nico and Pedro raised their eyebrows.

This kit-ten got yo' tongue tied in knots, you seeeee.

Spit—it—out, 'cuz I'm dyin' for comp-any.

The music picked up, and Nico and Pedro frowned, brows knitted in confusion and maybe even skepticism. They cocked their heads as if the slight angle would help them hear the song better.

I notice that you got it,

You notice that I want it,

You know that I can take it,

To the next level, ba-by,

If you want this good catch,

Sicker than the remix,

Ba-by, let me blow—your—mind—tonight!

Nico and Pedro's frowns deepened when Calysta reached the chorus.

I can't take it, take it, take NO moooooore!

Never felt like, felt like this BE-fore….

C'mon, get me, get me, on THE flooooooor!

DJ, what you, what you, wai-TIN fooooor?

Pedro fell off his stool and Nico actually dropped his bottle cap as he loudly exclaimed, "WHAT?" The frowns had disappeared in favor of bewilderment and confusion. Nico and Pedro looked at each other as Calysta continued singing.

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH oooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH oooooh!

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH ooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH hoooo!

Blu, Jewel, Rafael, and every other bird in the club swayed along with Calysta to the catchy beat. Nico and Pedro, however, looked angry, almost aghast. Nico shoved his stool closer to Pedro to begin whispering fervently in his ear.

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH oooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH oooooh!

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH ooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH hoooo!

"I KNOW!" Pedro whispered loudly back to Nico. Jewel, Blu, and Rafael noticed their friends' disturbance for the first time. Nico and Pedro stopped whispering when Calysta started the next verse.

Watch me move when I lose, when I lose it haaaaard.

Get you off with the touch dancin' in the dark.

Calysta crooked an inviting finger towards some of the boys in the front row. This only seemed to fuel the intense emotions Nico and Pedro were apparently experiencing.

You notice what I'm wearin',

I'm noticin' you're starin',

You know that I can TAKE it,

To the next level, ba-by,

Hotter than the A-List,

Next one on my hit list,

Ba-by, let me blow—your—mind—tonight!

The music escalated into the chorus. Pedro shook Nico by the shoulders. Nico responded by knocking Pedro's hands off and leaning desperately into his friends' ear to begin another round of frenzied whispering.

I can't take it, take it, take NO moooooore!

Never felt like, felt like this BE-fore….

C'mon, get me, get me, on THE flooooooor!

DJ, what you, what you wai-TIN fooooor?

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH oooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH oooooh!

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH ooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH hoooo!

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH oooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH oooooh!

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH ooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH hoooo!

Their friends at the table could hardly not notice the furious whispering between Nico and Pedro by now. Their hushed, fast, and garbled words were now accompanied by hand gestures. Nico was moving so much and so furiously that he almost fell off his stool.

See the sunlight!

We ain't stoppin'!

Keep on daaaaancin' tiiiilll the world ends,

If you feel it,

Let it happen,

Keep on daaancin' till the world ends!

Keep on daaaancin' till the world ends!

World ends….

World ends…

World ends…

World ends…

Keep on daaaaancin' till the world ends!

World ends…

World ends…

World ends…

World ends…

"Um…" Rafael poked Nico, who turned around and looked bewildered, as if he'd forgotten other people were there. He more or less ignored Rafael and turned right back to Pedro. Rafael shot Blu and Jewel a puzzled look.

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH oooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH oooooh!

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH ooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH hoooo!

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH oooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH oooooh!

Wo-oah uh uh uh uh uh UH ooooooh!

Wo-oah oh oh oh oh oh OH hoooo!

See the sunlight!

We ain't stoppin'!

Keep on daaaaancin' tiiiilll the world ends,

If you feel it,

Let it happen,

Keep on daaancin' till the world ends!

World ends…

World ends…

World ends…

World ends…

World ends…

The song trickled out and dissolved into a cheering round of applause.

"I thought that song was good," Blu remarked. "One I actually liked."

"Yeah, what's Nico and Pedro's problem?" Jewel asked.

Rafael turned to ask, but Nico and Pedro's chairs were empty. They were gone.


Hope you enjoyed! The more reviews I get...the faster I update. ;)