Chapter 1: Preparing

(Túlio's P.O.V.)

I was standing in my office, drinking a steaming hot cup of coffee as I looked out over the front courtyard of the aviary. As I set my mug down onto the table, it was now empty, and I started to walk towards the stairs while I took my glasses off. I lowered my glasses to my shirt and rubbed the lenses clear of steam. As I was walking downstairs to the treatment room, I slid my glasses back on and made a turn to go towards the breeding room, which currently held two scarlet macaws. One had been injured, and the other had carried it here. As I grabbed the handle bar to turn open to surveillances room door, I heard someone walking up to me from the hallway. When I turned around, I saw Wolf with a serious face, and he said, "Did you hear the news?"

"No, why, what's wrong?" I asked.

Wolf stopped and leaned against the wall and said, "A bird informed me that the smugglers had escaped, and Nigel is with them too… can I ask you for a favor?" I nodded my head when he finished, and he sighed and looked down, "Can you take me to a gun shop…?"

*vigorous coughing* "Umm… sure. Do you plan on… killing them?" I couldn't help but ask the question; that is all I thought guns were capable of.

Wolf sighed once more, and then said, "Only if it means my family remains safe…" I nodded in understanding, and I said, "Well, I will go get the jeep. I will meet you by the gate."

We were now driving down the beach, towards a popular gun store I had never really felt like visiting. I had read an ad about it, and apparently it held many of the guns Americans' liked as well. If they really do have many American guns, I'm sure Wolf will know which one is best…

Ah, here we are. I pulled the jeep next to the curb, and carefully got out as cars were passing by, and watched as Wolf stood up, and took a step out and let himself fall down to the ground. When he turned and walked up to me, I looked down the street and made sure no vehicles were coming, and then I motioned for Wolf to walk with me. "Aw man! I stepped in crap!"

I looked down, and saw Wolf, had indeed, stepped in dog poop. We had just reached the other side and he said, "You go ahead and go in, I'm going to try and get this stuff off my heel."

"Alright, hurry up though." And then I stepped through the doors and felt my jaw drop; the walls were lined with guns, and many different stands among the room. Before the door closed behind me, I heard Wolf curse as he stomped his shoe onto the pavement. It wasn't before I took a few steps inside that someone placed a hand on my shoulder and said, "What is a small man like yourself doing in here?"

I turned around and saw a burly man looking down at me, and I said, "I'm just looking through the gun selections…"

"Sorry pal, but we don't sell to wimpy gu-" he stopped just as another hand was placed on his, and he spun around. I backed up away from him, and I heard Wolf say, "Do we have a problem here?"

(Wolf's P.O.V.)

When I walked in, a big guy was apparently trying to get Túlio out of the store using intimidation. Now that I had him facing me, and I had my question in the air, he seemed to be thinking of a response, but I spoke first, "money keeps a business running, so are you trying to say our money won't be good for your business?"

Ha, got you now… or not. "Or how about you just give me your money?"

"Here, I will make you a deal, I will give you all the money in my pocket," I took out my money and looked at it thought fully, "which seems to be a few thousand Reals, if you can beat me in a fight. If I win, I get the weapon, and ammo, of my choice for free." I smiled as I put the money back in my pocket, and stared at him defiantly.

"Deal." He grinned, revealing a chipped tooth and black teeth.

I backed up, and put my fists up in front of me, and as he lifted his arms and got into a ready position, I taunted him by moving my finger backwards, and then forward, in a 'bring it' taunt. He growled as I grinned, and when he threw one of his fists forward, I caught it with my own hand, and pulled him towards me, and quickly punched him between his shoulder and arm with my fingers out stretched. I backed up just as he swung at me with his other arm, and I pushed it up with my hand, but not before twisting my body, and taking a quick punch under his arm and into his ribs. He grunted, and I backed away again. I smiled as he jerkily raised his arm I had hit in the joint, and chuckled quietly. He faced me, and just as he swung a fist at me, I pulled him forward again, but my chest suddenly burst with pain, and I backed away quickly while holding my chest. I took deep breaths in, or tried to, but all I felt was lightness, and the pain. Before I could react, one of his legs swung undermine, bringing me down to the ground. I hit the floor hard, but it helped me regain my breathing, and I saw another man, this one smaller, but with more defined muscles walking towards us. Time to end this! Just as the guy above me reached down, I saw the other man open his mouth, but I moved in a blur. I grabbed his hand and squeezed between his thing and finger, kicked out and brought my heel to the back of his knee, and grabbed his shoulder. Him falling back lifted me into the air, and I used that to stand up. He landed on one of his knees, so while he was kneeling, I had a clear shot to anywhere now that I was standing up. I pulled my hand back, and slammed his chest with my palm, putting all my weight behind it, and I quickly backpedaled and prepared myself for the next guy.

He held up his hands, and said, "HEY, WOAH… calm down! Jorge, what did I tell you about fighting costumers! And this one managed to kick yer ass this time…" the man turned towards me and said, "I was watching the security camera's when you two started to fight… nice skills by the way… here, let me make it up to you; anything you want is half priced… deal?"

Chuckling, I held out my hand just as he did, and said, "Deal… but can you get him fighting lessons?"

The man gave me a confused stare, and I added, "I'm only seventeen, and I beat a grown man with tons of muscle way too easily…" I chuckled as I finished, and saw a paler than pale Túlio sigh. I walked past them all, and saw a gun that seemed to be calling out to me. I turned back towards the owner and said, "How much for the M4 assault rifle with a suppressor?"

The man walked behind the counter and read a small slip of paper beneath it, and muttered under his breath. When he looked at me, I put my hand in my pocket, and he said, "That would be one thousand Reals…" I took out my money, and handed him over the amount of money to complete the transaction. He smiled as he put the cash in a cash register, and he grabbed the gun, put it in a case that had a few boxes of ammunition, and slid it towards me. He next grabbed a box, and put it on top of the gun case also and said, "There you go. Thank you for visiting, and feel welcome to come again." I nodded my head, and turned around to walk back outside.

When we were finally outside, I turned to Túlio and said, "Ok, when we get back to the sanctuary, I'm going home, my kids are probably worried by now… they just learned of me being a shape shifter today…"

Túlio nodded and said, "Ok, well, let us get going then… and Wolf?" I looked over at him, and he said, "May you teach me to fight," he jabbed his thumb back towards the gun shop, "like that someday?"

I chuckled and replied, "Sure, just not now… too much stuff happening…"

I had grabbed a mango and blackberry vine before I had entered the hollow, and I was currently sitting next to Azure as she nibbled on a few blackberries. Luke was eating a Papaya he had gone out to get, Gabriel was eating the rest of the Papaya that Azure hadn't finished, and Beleza was sitting down near a wall, not eating anything. Grabbing a few blackberries, I slowly walked over to my youngest child… my little Beleza. She looked up when I was a few steps from her, and I sat down and leaned against the wall of the hollow.

"Come here Beleza…" I said. She slowly walked up to me, and when I could reach her, I quickly grabbed her and hoisted her up to my chest. She giggled slightly, but soon again quieted down. I grabbed one of the berries and held it up to her, but she refused to take it, so I sighed and asked, "What is wrong Beleza… is there something you want to ask?"

"How did you change into another bird?" she asked as soon as I was finished. I shook my head before saying, "that is a story for another day…"

She looked slightly disappointed, but asked, "Why did you get so mad at that other bird today papa?" I looked over at Azure, and saw that both boys had also started to pay attention. "He tried to hurt your mama multiple times… and I don't like birds that try to hurt my family." I looked back at the boys and said, "Get over here you two; I know you have some questions also…"

Soon, I had all three of the chicks cuddled up on my chest, and I finally managed to get Beleza to start eating. "Papa, when did that bird first try to hurt mama?" I looked over, and smiled as Luke asked this, and I said, "When I first met your mama…"

Gabriel nudged my beak with his wing and asked, "Where are you and mama from?" this is gonna last until night-time…

(Beleza's P.O.V.)

Wow… papa sure does have a lot of stories… I yawned as I buried myself into papa's chest even more, and I sighed as his warmth started to overtake me, along with his heartbeat creating a steady rhythm that was putting me to sleep. Both my brothers had fallen asleep now, and it was just mama and papa awake. I heard mama ask quietly, "What did you do today dear?"

Papa sighed sadly, and replied, "… I bought a gun." A quiet gasp was heard, and he added, "I needed to Azure… to keep all of you safe. I couldn't stand it when you were crying when… I almost died. I don't want to see you hurt physically, nor do I want the kids hurt. You all mean too much too me…" I was now fully awake again, but I kept that hidden and continued to listen.

"Dear… this time you won't need to die like last time though." Papa died before?

"I don't plan on dying again… let's just get to sleep… I will take you and the kids to the beach tomorrow. Since they already know I'm a shape shifter, I will just get us food from the fruit market… alright my shining angel?"

I heard a sigh, and as I peeked my eye open, I saw daddy kiss mama on the beak, "Ewwww!"

Papa's chest vibrated, and I heard him chuckle as he slowly pulled his beak away from mama, and he said, "Shouldn't you be asleep young lady?"

"Not until you are papa…" I answered back, and dug myself deeper into his feathers. I felt something smooth running down my back, and I heard papa start to coo a song to me. Soon, I felt myself drifting into sleep…"

A.N.: I'm going to be making the chapters shorter, so that my stories last longer, and I don't burn myself out so easily…

Disclaimer: I do not own Rio or anything else that they have made or came up with. Characters belong to their respective owners.