Author's Notes: Whaddup, people? How's it going? XD

Ha ha! I'm glad you guys enjoyed the previous chapter! While I was writing that chapter out, I had this weird feeling in my gut saying that most of you would want Diego dead and all (considering the other past reviews). But of course, I wanted to surprise you all. And this chapter might just enhance the surprise that was given by the previous one.

I won't go into details now, but let me say that you will find out what happens as you read this here chapter. A lot of things will happen here. So... yeah. :D

By the way, I'm sorry for the long wait. 4th Year High School's a b**ch. At least that's how I felt... I would have finished this earlier. I was in school the other day, honestly speaking. I had my laptop with me. I wanted to write this down so I could publish it soon, but I couldn't find any peace. There were teachers walking around and I don't think they would see off-school literature writing as an a-okay thing in school. Our administration sucks, truthfully speaking. You wouldn't want to enroll in the school I'm in. Advanced in lessons, yes. But they're like dictators! Some teachers there are cool, though. But not all.

Anyway, yeah. School's a b**ch. Once the next summer comes, or at least any sign of free time, I'm gonna set my fingers on fire (figuratively speaking) and get down to writing. :D

Bah! Enough from me! Let's get this over with! XD

With out any more delays, I give you... Chapter 21: Redemption, Death and Unity: Part 1

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Eeyup! Here we go...

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Right now... ;)


Redemption, Death and Unity: Part 1

The chilly air...

The soft surface...

Slow constant beeping sounds...

Nothing more but that...

But... Was this heaven? Was this heaven in Alex's electric dreams- Oh, what the hell! Just get on with the story! People are waiting! Stupid narrator...

Narrator: HEY! WATCH IT!


April 10, 2012: Blu Bird Sanctuary

10:23 am...

As the eyes of Alex Eisenhower slowly opens, he moans in the numbness of his body. "Mmm..."

Once he reaches the half-point, he turns his head around to scan his surroundings. He sees that he is in a white room. He also notices that he is resting on a small bed. The kind of bed that's used in a hospital, only it was appropriate for his size. But the height of the bed was the same as the ones used for humans. 'By golly... I'm in a hospital,' he thought.

Feeling curious about what else was in the room, he slowly tries to raise his body from the bed. But halfway there, he suddenly felt an excruciatingly sharp pain develop on his back and stomach. He didn't know what to hold on to. He yelled a bit as his body jerked in pain and put himself in a fetal stance as he placed his wings on his stomach, but when he was about to ball up, another wave of pain seared through him. His left leg, specifically. Again, he yelled, but this time more audible. "AAGH!"

He eyed his pained left leg, only to find it elevated and wrapped in a cast. He narrowed his eyes on his leg and saw that it was supported by some smooth metal wires. The wires stretched up to a point where Alex's neck reached the limit. The wires were properly connected to some kind of crane-like device which can be controlled.

When he looked at his body, it was covered in a white bandage.

Not wanting to move his body since the pain might return from any other movement, he moved his head around instead.

To his left, he saw a machine which had a screen. It was like a computer screen mounted on a stand-fan's body. The screen had some lines and numbers showing. The lines seemed to motion like sharp waves every time a beeping sound emanated. "Huh. It's showing, what it seems to be, my heart rate. The numbers are fairly high and the lines are green. The line movements' rhythm with the beeping sounds weren't so fast or so slow, but rather perfect. I guess I'm in good condition." He said to himself weakly.

The wires that were connected to it trailed to his right leg. "Ugh. Why do I have a feeling that the tip of the wire is in my leg? It... It feels weird. Oh, wait... That's the IV." He was confused by the multitudes of wires that he didn't notice the IV stand and the IV bag next to the heart rate examiner.

When he turned to his right, he saw a night stand. It had a lamp and a phone. But it had more. He also saw his belt, his iPod, his gun and his replica of the American flag. The belt was a bit tattered, his iPod was split in half, his gun was slightly covered in black dirt and its slide was retracted, which meant that it was empty, and his American flag replica was slightly burnt. But the design was still clear and noticeable and that there were no holes.

Looking at the objects, it was then he remembered what had happened last night.

He remembered the fighting, the warehouse being swallowed by the flames, his friends, saving Diego... "(Gasp!) Diego! Where is he?"

Remembering the evil eagle he had sympathy for, he desperately looked around him, trying to find him. It was then he realized that the bed he was on wasn't the only one in the room. The room was actually big. It had more other beds and similar equipment. But he was all alone. There was no other bird in the room. It was just him. Which meant that Diego wasn't there.

Alex's POV

Diego wasn't around. Where could he be? I remember having him in my wings when we fell. The grenade explosion made the both of us fall off the rafters and I am 100% sure that I got him as we fell into the flames. "D-Diego? Where are you?" I said, sounding like I was getting scared.

... No answer.

I thought about asking again. So I opened my beak and prepared to speak up.

However, just when I was going to ask again, I heard something... like something wooden was opened. Doors? It did sound like the opening of wooden doors. The sound erupted from my right. When I looked at that direction, I saw a couple of tan-colored humans. They were wearing white coats and they were bringing in another bed. I caught a glimpse of what was on the bed, but I couldn't really tell who or what it was. All I could see was a brown color.

I quickly lowered my head on the pillow, closed my eyes and stayed still like I have been asleep the whole time.

While staying disguised, the humans began to converse. Luckily, they spoke in English. So I perfectly understood what was being talked about.

"Man. Look at this poor eagle."

"I know. Can you imagine what that blue bird described when he and his friends found him and the American eagle?"

"Yeah. The whole warehouse thing and a pole sticking up from his back. (Sighs) Well, the American eagle's lucky that he's going to be fine, even if he took most of the damage from that said pole."

Pole? Sticking out of MY back? Oh, God... I nearly died just like my mother! And that explains the pain I had on my front and back a while ago. The pole that they're talking about must have fallen on my back and then poked out from the front.

And about the other eagle they were talking about... could it be Diego?

"What do you think brought this poor fella to this kind of condition?"

"I don't know. But Mr. Monteiro said that he isn't going to make it. The best we could do is continue to take care of him until he passes away."

The sounds of their footsteps and the bed's wheel creaking began to increase in volume. The sounds focused on my left side. After about 20 seconds, the sounds stopped. But that wasn't it. I then heard the sounds of equipment handling. Soon, beeping sounds started... well, sounding off.

"Just our right too. His heart rate's low."

"Poor bird. Let's just give him and his friend some rest. It's better if we don't stay here. We might just make a ruckus."

"I'm with you on that one. We can come back later to check on them."

I slowly opened my right eye, only to find them walking away and back through the door. Once they got through, they quietly closed them. Now was my chance to see who the eagle next to me really is.

Opening my eyes, I slowly adjusted my body position (remembering my wounds and my broken leg) and made an attempt to take a peek on who was beside me. When I moved my heart-rate examiner machine a bit, I couldn't help but gasp in shock and realization.

That eagle... That one eagle that the doctors classified as the dying eagle... was Diego.

The bandage wrapped around his body was thicker and bloodstained. His left leg had a cast wrapped around it (similar to mine). I took a look at the machine that displayed his heart rate, and I realized that the docs weren't kidding. His heart rate really was low. Diego was dying.

Feeling hopeless, I lay myself on the bed and just gazed at the ceiling. Tears were forming in my eyes as every thought about him went through my head. I couldn't believe that I had failed.

Oh, well. The least I could do for him is give him company before he goes... even if he won't reply for now, since he's asleep.

"I'm sorry, Diego. I'm... I'm sorry I failed to save you." I said with a slightly raspy tone as I continued to stare at the ceiling.

...

...

"Why did you even try to save me?"

My eyes widened in shock when I heard the familiar voice. I looked to my left and saw that Diego was looking at me with a blank stare. I felt a spark of happiness ignite in my chest. I couldn't help but smile. "Because I knew that there was still a chance to save you from your nightmares."

"Pfft! Nightmares... You think that all the shit I've been through are considered as nightmares?"

"Yeah."

"He he. You sound like my paren-" He stopped there and the look on his face began to look grave and a bit saddened and angered. Of course, it was the deep and dark secrets that made him react that way. And if I'm going to get rid of those secrets and free him of his nightmares, I'm going to make him tell me everything regarding how he turned into an evil being.

"Diego. I know you want to get rid of those haunting memories. Why don't you allow me to help you, and tell me everything."

His response was a quick glare and a weak snarl. I wasn't taken aback by his actions, though. I continued to look at him with pure concern. He kept his glare, but then it started to soften up and morph into a slightly saddened expression.

With that, he closed his eyes and sighed. "Look. Why are you doing this? After all the obstacles I put you through, you still try to help me in the end."

"Why don't YOU tell me what you thought had happened to me. Then I'll tell you if you're right or wrong." He said as he adjusted his body position so he could feel more comfortable.

Tell him what I thought, huh? I guess it wouldn't hurt to play along. "Alright." I said with a smile.

"While I was looking for you in the fiery facade that was the warehouse, I realized that someone told you to go against the world as it is against you. You were still a kid at the time, so you were easily manipulated. I know it has had a large effect on you and that it seemed too late to change you back, but I couldn't leave you in there to die. I knew that you could still be saved. Everyone can change."

I finished my explanation, and he just kept staring at me. I stared back at him, feeling nervous and all. However, I felt like time suddenly slowed down, for as I continued to focus on his face, I noticed that he was slowly forming a smile. And it wasn't an evil smile, mind you. It was an ordinary smile. I couldn't help but smile back.

"You know, American... You're right. I WAS told that."

It's a good thing that he took it lightly. But it was either because of his condition now or he finally realized his actions. However, his smile started to disappear and tears were forming in his eyes. Soon, he slowly turned around and held on tight to his pillow. I couldn't believe it... An eagle like him... crying. But then again, it really means that he has chosen the path of redemption. And I'm proud of him.

I needed to comfort him, so I did what people usually do. "There, there. It's alright."

"(SNIFF!) No. It's not alright. I... I killed my parents. I killed many others. I used to be one of the nicest guys in the jungles of Rio. (SNIFF!) Why have I gone mad? W-why did I listen to that asshole that told me those words?"

"Hey, it's alright. What matters now is that you're not the evil Diego anymore."

"R-really?" He said weakly as he turned to face me again.

"Yeah."

Again, we stared at each other for a while. After a few minutes of silence, he started giggling. Pretty soon, it reached to the point of him laughing, which sounded like cheering if you ask me. It was weird, you know? You were crying before and now you're laughing. What's up with that? "W-why are you laughing all of a sudden?"

"Ha ha ha! I never felt so happy in my life! Ha ha! Oh, I would still be evil if you hadn't decided to try and save me. Thank you! Thank you so much!"

Wow! He did! He really did change! I succeeded! Ha ha! I was so happy that I also laughed with him. "Ha ha ha! It's alright, Diego! It's my pleasure!"

"Ha ha ha- AAACCK!"

His laughing stopped and he started coughing. He fell back on the bed flat and coughed away. But the coughs weren't simple. They sounded hard and it seemed like pain was shooting through Diego's chest. His eyes were shut tight and he placed a wing on his chest. My happiness immediately disappeared as I could only watch him in horror.

"(COUGH! COUGH!) Agh! (COUGH!) Merde!"

"J-just hold on, Diego! You'll be fine!"

"N-no... The d-doc was right... I'm not going to make it..."

"That's not true! You'll make it! Trust me!"

A few minutes later...

His coughing ceased. But his breathing became slow and raspy. He stared into the oblivion above. I couldn't keep my eyes off of him, though. I was too worried. I even tried to get some sleep, but likewise. The worries kept me awake.

The longer I stared at him, the more worried I got. Damn it! Where was that Monteiro guy the doctor was talking about?

As time passed by, I began to realize that nothing could be done. Diego was dying and I can't do anything to save him from that. But... how could he be the one dying? I took most of the damage. The pole going through me, being under all that rubble and warehouse debris, everything! I had Diego underneath me. Even if the pole was able to penetrate him too, the wound couldn't have been worse than mine. Maybe if I ask him... Maybe he remembers what made his condition worse than mine.

"Diego..."

He turned his head to face me and whispered, "Yes?"

"D-do you remember what made your condition worse than mine?"

"Y-yeah. In fact, I got more details from Mr. Tulio Monterio himself."

"Go on..."

"He... He said that my body took a lot of damage from an explosion. This bandage on my body doesn't just cover my wound. It also holds my rib cage in place. That explains the thickness of this thing. But there was more. My innards were also damaged to an extent that they may never heal. It's the reason why I'm dying."

"S-so... if an explosion was responsible for your ailments, then that means-"

"Yes. The grenade I unpinned really got me."

So that's how. It was the grenade. Damn... and just when I thought it would have any use while I was here. But instead, it hurt an evil eagle who I decided to save. I hate bad luck...

"Alex?"

"Yeah?"

"C-can you do me a few favors?"

"Sure."


A sudden increase in speed...

The beeping sounds that mentioned his life's condition...

Death was here...

Death was closing in for the White-tailed Eagle...

Ready to claim its prize.


"Can... Can you tell Sylvia that... that I'm sorry? And that I love her as my sweet, little sister? And... A-and that I will always watch over her from above?"

"Please, Diego. Don't make it sound like you're never going to see her again." I pleaded. But he ignored it and continued.

"My time has come for me to go, and... I don't think I have the time to tell her everything."


The merciless beeping from the machine continues to increase in speed...

There was no running away from Death itself.


I was beginning to feel a fresh set of tears in my eyes. I couldn't bear to hear Diego say such things. "Damn it, Diego. Stop it."

His eyes began to close slowly. His breathing looked like it was going to stop anytime.

"I'm sorry, Alex... for all the troubles I have caused you and your friends. Take care... T-Take care of your f-friends..."

... a-and...

T-take c-care of Sylvia for m-me..."

His final words said, his eyes completely closed and his breathing ceased. The machine that displayed his heart rate was not showing sharp waves anymore. It was a flat line. The numbers reached "zero". The beeping ceased and was replaced with a sound that kept on going.

It was official.

Diego, the eagle who was still able to redeem himself even in the final moments of his life...

... is dead.

Meanwhile...

Blu's POV

I was in the waiting area with Jewel and Linda. It had been more than half an hour since the doctors came out of the Patients Room. When I heard from Tulio that Diego wasn't going to make it, I was really saddened. I was also worried that Alex might not be able to take the news lightly.

Not long ago, Tulio called the Grand Hotel do Rio and notified the president of the United States that his companion, Alex, is here. I told him to tell him that. He should be here soon. The only things I have to look out for are a few black cars, some guys in suits and a guy in the middle of the guys in suits.

I leaned on Linda's head. I needed to cuddle with something as comforting as Linda so I could shake these worries off. Linda noticed it and soothed, "Don't worry, Blu. I'm sure your eagle friends will be fine."

"Let's hope so..." I said weakly, in which she understood as a weak caw.

Jewel was perched on Linda's other arm. Rafael, Eva, their kids and our kids were in the aviary keeping Sylvia some company while she recovers from her beatings. Nigel was in the Treatment Room. Tulio was fixing up his wounds after getting shot by Gregorio, which of course, he didn't believe. He thinks that it was the doing of mischievous kids and their little toys. Well, he's going to change his mind once Alex's friend gets here. Knowing that he is one of the guys who provided Alex's gear, I'm sure he can tell that Nigel was shot by a bird-appropriate gun.

Speaking of Gregorio, I wonder where he went off to. Ever since the Toucan kids scared him off, he never made another appearance. Not even to come back for his brother. Weird... I guess he really is a coward. I know I am, but he's worse. I'm sure of that one.

I turned my head to Jewel and was about to ask her about what she thinks about Gregorio's whereabouts, but I cancelled the thought. She didn't seem to be in a talking mood. She just stared through the window behind her. Her expression was just blank. But her eyes had something else in them. Worry. And I perfectly understood that.

I turned my head back towards the Patients Room doors, but then another door opened. I shifted my head a little more to the left and saw Tulio walking out of the Treatment Room behind the counter with Nigel perched on his arm. His body was wrapped in a bandage. He seemed to be happy and well. So I smiled at him and he winked in response.

"Good news about our friend here. The wounds weren't severe and the small metal fragments that I found inside him didn't do big damage to any of his inner organs. In short, he should be fine."

I was going to squawk in happiness, when I heard a few cars pull over. I, as well as the others, looked to the entrance of the building (the glass doors), and I was right. There were a few cars. We all stared in silence as a few humans in black suits and black shades came out of the cars. I counted at least 6 guys in suits and shades. The last guy to come out had no shades on. It was President Dexter Eisenhower.

I then looked at Tulio, who went towards the doors so he could open them for the guys. Once he opened them, he greeted them as the suited gentlemen entered. "Good morning, gentlemen. Mr. President."

Dexter was the last one to enter and he shook Tulio's hand. "Good morning to you too, Doctor. Thank you for telling me about my friend. I thought I lost him forever."

"Well, you're in luck. He's in good condition. Those who were responsible for finding him are in this very room, and take note: They're not human."

His eyes widened a bit and a smile crept on his face. "Really?"

"Yes sir. They're birds."

He then turned to me and Jewel and pointed at us. "They were responsible for finding him."

When Dexter turned his eyes to us, his casual happy face slowly turned into a face of shock and discovery. "Well, I'll be a star in the flag... Those are the Spix's Macaws that Alex and I read about in the online news."

Tulio planted a hand on his shoulder and proudly said, "Yes. That is them."

"Alex always wanted to meet them personally. It was one of his reasons for going here. He... He wanted to make their acquaintance."

"Well, since they found him, I'm sure he did... Speaking of Alex..."


He lay there in bed. His back was turned against his dead friend-turned enemy. The heart-rate scanner's sounds have been ceased by Alex himself not long ago. How? Well, due to his platter of mixed sadness and anger, he grabbed one of the nearby wires that were connected to the now-dead Diego and snapped it in two with his beak, causing the machine's sudden shut-down. He didn't want to hear the haunting sound any longer. All he wanted now was to lose himself in his dreams; the only place that offered complete serenity.

He closed his eyes. He was too sad to think about anything else. All he kept thinking about was, "I guess I can't save everybody, even if I wanted to." Being in his, dream state, he wouldn't be able to hear

While he wallowed in depression, Linda, Tulio, Dexter and his agents and a few other doctors, along with Blu, Jewel and Nigel, silently entered the room. They all noticed that Alex's eyes were closed. They all thought he was asleep, so they made sure to not make any loud noises. "Okay, people. Alex is asleep. And so is his friend. Let's just give them a quick check. After that, we'll wait for them to wake up..."

Tulio paused a bit and looked at Dexter and his agents. "... That is, if any of you are busy and-"

"No, it's alright. We are on hiatus after all. Away from work and all. If we have to wait, then it's fine with me. My patience is long." Dexter assured happily.

Tulio gave him a smile and turned to the two eagles. On his way to them, he was able to observe Alex's heart rate. "Alex seems to be alright. Now, let's check on the other- Huh?"

He paused, only to notice that Diego's heart-rate scanner turned off. "Funny. I thought the other two doctors turned it on. Hmm... Must be a technical failure."

He continued to walk quietly to Diego's bed. Once he got there, he pressed the start-up button on the body of the machine, but it did not turn on. "What the?"

He pressed it again. Nothing happened. Dexter noticed Tulio's incoming nervousness and went over to him. "Need any help with that, doctor?"

"I guess I could. Thank you. May you check the wires?" He pleaded nervously while he continued to find different methods of bringing the machine back to life.

"No problem." Dexter said as he went around the machine and looked at it's behind.

He started at one wire and trailed it downwards. However, half-way there, he discovered that the wire's extension did not continue and it was cut in half. "Uh... Mr. Tulio? The wire's cut. And the edges of the wires don't look smooth."

Tulio's eyes widened and feeling worried, he went next to Dexter and looked at the wire. He was telling the truth. The wire really was cut in half and it didn't look like it was cut by something sharp and stable, like a knife. "It's as if the wire's been cut by something blunt."

"Well, we don't have enough time to get a new one from the storage room, so I'm just going to go with the basics. And that's pulse finding." He said happily.

He then turned to Diego and placed his hands on his pulse points. His left hand was on Diego's foot while the right hand was on his feathery chest.

A few seconds passed by and nothing pulsed under Tulio's fingers. He started to worry. "Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no." He repeated.

"What? No pulse?"

"It feels like it. Oh, Deus..."

"Here. Let me try."

Tulio removed his hands and were replaced by Dexter's. He watched the president do the work, feeling shivers in his spine. He was clearly hoping that Diego wasn't dead. Not yet, at least. He knew that the results were inevitable, but he was hoping that he would have lasted a bit longer.

"This isn't going anywhere. I'll get the stethoscope. I need to be 100 percent sure. You can watch Alex, by the way."

So Tulio went out of the room towards his office to get his tool. This was a perfect moment for the two separated best friends to see each other again. But... how will it go?


Alex's POV

As much as I am concerned and curious about those voices, I still kept my eyes closed in anger and sadness. I really wasn't in the mood to look at anything or communicate with anyone. I'd rather be secluded in my imaginations. My fantasy, where everything is exactly the way I want them to be. I know it sounds so childish. But I really am THAT depressed. Hence, I'm keeping my eyes closed and my thoughts away from anything else but my peaceful imaginations.

Anyway, I just lay still. Tears ran down my face slowly. Diego's death really hit me hard in the chest. Or should I say, my heart. He managed to change from an evil being to his good old self. He succeeded in turning back into the good eagle he said he was. But death already had it's hold on his life. Even if I wanted to save everyone I encounter, good or bad, I guess I really can't do so every time. And that's reality. Shit...

I felt myself slowly falling into a slightly painful slumber, when I suddenly felt a warm hand on my shoulder area. My damp eyes opened in slight shock. My heart skipped a beat. Who could that be?

"Don't worry, Alex. You'll be okay. I'm finally here for you."

That soothing tone in that voice... There's only one person in this world that possesses that tone.

Feeling a bit excited, I turned my head upwards from the side and prepared to look at what was holding me. I had to adjust my body as well.

When I positioned myself comfortably and as my eyes set upon a face; that one face that always calmed me down and cheered me up. The smile that was on his face made me feel like time stopped and my eyes' vision immediately focused with tunnel-vision. I felt my eyes widen more. I opened my beak to at least caw in mixed emotions, but I couldn't release any sound.

My eyes locked with the familiar face's eyes.

...

...

Dexter...


Author's Note: There we go! Done with this one! :D

I'm sorry if I seem to be putting up too many cliffhangers. It just gets to me. I don't know why, but it just does. XD

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this one. If school doesn't pin me down, I'll get the next one (including the other stories that I have in mind) up soon. I can't say when, but let's just say that you'll know when they come out. :)

Same protocol: Reviews are greatly appreciated, and if you spot any oddities that I missed, give me the heads-up. ;)

Catch ya'll in the next chapter, sugar cubes! (Anyone get that reference? XD)

Bah! Enough from me...

Really, catch you all in the next! ;)

Alex out.