From his vantage point which was located on the edge of a plane's small cargo ramp, a lone blue macaw swallowed hard in hopes of ridding himself of the large lump of anxiety which kept him rooted to the spot. It wasn't fear which kept him in place. He knew what would happen. He knew he wouldn't survive the long plunge to the ocean below. In fact the thought never even crossed his mind, let alone scare him. Instead what kept him standing in place was the simple fact that he just didn't know how she would react to his sacrifice. He could very well seal his fate, and his life would be meaningless to her. True, he did love her, but the same couldn't be said for certain about her. As his fear began to rise, the macaw could feel his body blow back against the wind. His talons scraped along the cold metal surface, scratching the thin sheet of metal. Behind him the sound of an alarm continued to pierce through the storage compartment. It wouldn't matter if he jumped or not, either way the plane would soon be going down. Standing here would just prolong the plunge by a mere couple of minutes.
The city of Rio de Janeiro could still be seen in the distance, shimmering under the sunrise. The glass windows and cerise coloured buildings filled him with a sense of peace. He couldn't remember seeing anything more beautiful except for the face of the bird he cared for. The love of his life, who as of a few moments ago had been thrown from the plane during a sudden jerk which killed both engines. Her horrified scream pierced his heart like a knife. He shuddered and shook his head, blocking out the thoughts which warned him about the more than obvious fate they would both share.
"You can do this, Blu." He told himself, "No! You must do this."
The spix macaw waited no longer. With a single talon stretched outwards, he proceeded to walk off the edge of the ramp and began his free fall to the cold ocean below. The wind rushed through his wings, pushing him downward like a rock. His beak flapped in the wind. His saliva drifted upwards meeting him in the eyes. Blu winked away a small wedge of eyelash caught under his eyelid and he let loose a horrified scream. Not because of the end result which he tried to keep clear from his mind, but because of the distance he still remained away from Jewel.
He spread his wings and with a quick thrust of his tail feathers, his descent increased tenfold. Without wasting a moment, he opened his eyes and grabbed hold of Jewel as he sped passed. Jewel's eyes widened as she realized she rested in his wings, considering she knew for a fact that he didn't know how to fly.
"Blu!" She screamed, "What are you doing? You're crazy!"
Blu shook his head and peered into the round sapphire orbs that were here eyes. He smiled and replied in a calm manner. "I'm not going to let you go, we're chained to each other birds, remember?"
Jewel's eyes widened as Blu's words hit her ears. He didn't care about his eventual death. He didn't care about the fate of their species. He cared about being with her. She contemplated it for a few moments, allowing the true meaning of his words to formulate in her mind. They didn't stay there long, because they found their way to her heart. His selfless actions awakened her spirit. His sacrifice meant the world to her. She forced a smile, pulling him into a heartfelt kiss. Though it didn't change the fact that they were about to meet their end , but she couldn't have picked a better moment to hear his voice.
Blu pulled his beak away from her. His heart beat picked up pace, thumping as he became filled with a pleasant warmth. He didn't need to think about anything. His spirit came alive for the first time in his entire life. Spreading his wings, he skimmed the water and took flight. A fact which almost remained at a complete loss to him, not because he didn't care, but because he focused only on Jewel.
"Blu!" Jewel exclaimed happily, "You're flying!"
"Yeah," Blu nodded, recalling a previous conversation they had had that day. "You were right. I'm not an ostrich, I'm not an ostrich!"
The spix macaw smiled as he continuously flapped his wings. His body arched soaring through the wind. His talons tightened around Jewel with each second that ticked by. He would not let her go again. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they belonged together. He could not remove the smile from his beak. His mind continued to think about the kiss they shared. She'd kissed him, not the other way around, that made it all the more special to him. It meant that somewhere deep down she really did care about him.
"Are you okay down there?" He asked, remembering her injuries suffered in the plan. He peered down at her busted wing, he could see the amount of damage done to her wing and knew she needed immediate medical attention. His eyes narrowed as he continued. "Let me know if you want me to land."
"Keep on going, Blu!" Jewel's voice rang out an immediate response. "Let's head back to Rio."
Blu couldn't help but grin at Jewel's enthusiasm. He skimmed cliffs, evaded the cable carts, and she still wanted more. I think I love her. He thought to himself. His smile widened as he admitted the truth to himself for the first time.
It was just a little after dawn when Blu made contact with the land. Exhausted, he laid Jewel down upon the asphalt runway of the air port. He watched patiently as Linda, Tulio, and Fernando worked their way over to him. Linda gasped as she watched Jewel's injured wing twitch uncontrollably. Tulio bent down and placed a hand upon the damaged limb. She winced in pain, which caused Tulio to cup her in both hands.
"Is she okay?" Linda asked.
"We'll know, when we get her back to our treatment room. Right now I can only guess if its a sprain, break, or even nerve damage." Jewel pulled her head back, frightened. Tulio however reassured her with a soothing voice. "It's alright. I will take care of you."
"It's okay," Blu said, wrapping his wing around Jewel for a moment. "I'll be there with you. I promise."
Jewel nodded her sweet little head and let the human pick her up. She sighed, watching Blu the whole time. She never removed her eyes off him.
"He's so thought." She mused, "There is more to him than I thought."
Jewel awakened much earlier than usual. She rolled over onto her side, wincing as her injured wing made contact with the ground. Despite the cast, her wing still seemed to bother her. A fact which made her heart sink into the pits of despair. She peered around the room making sure she was alone, before she shed a couple of tears. She didn't like being helpless, injured, or flightless. It made her feel horrible. In a way, Nigel had scored a victory by taking away her ability to fly. She sighed, wiping the tears away with her good wing, and then spoke.
"Tulio said that the pain would be normal." She admitted. "Still, I wonder how much longer it will be before I can fly again."
She rose up onto her talons and breathed inwards. The fresh air seeping in through the ventilation system filled her nostrils, shifting her feathers slightly. It wasn't as good as naturally coming from nature, but Jewel would be more than willing to make sacrifices so long as the humans kept their word and fixed her wing. Her attention fell upon the empty nest beside her. Blu didn't seem to be in view. She paced herself, walking through the artificial forest. Her eyes filled with concern.
"Blu?" She called out, "Where are you?"
Silence appeared to be the only response from the jungle aside from the hum of the ventilation system and the rippling of the artificial waterfall. She continued onwards, studying the cameras as she passed by.
"Blu," She called out again, "This isn't funny, come on our or you'll be sorry."
Dropping from the trees like a big round coconut, Blu landed in front of her. Stretching his wings out, he yawned and seated himself. His big chocolate brown eyes almost seemed like they teased her, a wicked smile blanketed his face. She too forced an amused look as she sat down beside him. "You called?" Blu asked, arching a curious eyebrow and leaning his head inwards just inches from Jewel's face.
"What were you doing?" She asked. "You're supposed to fly down, not drop like a rock."
Blu shook the dirt from his feathers and nodded. He studied the treetops for a moment. "I was just looking for breakfast."
"Breakfast?" Jewel echoed, eyeing her stomach as it rumbled. "That sounds like a wonderful idea."
"Sounded like a wonderful idea," Blu told her. "I wasn't able to find anything."
"That's because they usually deliver our food at the front door." Jewel giggled. "I thought a pet like you would automatically know that."
Blu's pout deepened further though he knew full well she was only joking around with him. "I'm not a pet, I'm a companion."
"No, you're a pet." Jewel teased shoving him with her good wing. "You're my pet, and I wouldn't trade you for all the mangoes, passion fruit, or chewy-chewy cocoa beans in the jungle."
"They have mangoes, passion fruit, and chewy-chewy cocoa beans in the jungle?" Blu arched a curious eye brow. "Sign me up for that place."
Jewel's playful smile deepened. "Are you sure, Pet? There are spiders and dirt and its nothing like a bird cage."
Blu nodded his head. "Yeah, I guess it's time to look beyond all of that. It's time to think about saving our species."
Tulio entered the aviary's large cafeteria. Dressed in a white lab coat, and carrying a clipboard. He examined Linda for a moment, smiling as he seated himself beside her. Picking a pen from one of his pockets, he signed the ledger before placing it down upon the table. With his work now finished, he cracked his hands and arched a curious eyebrow towards his female companion.
"How are you this morning?" He asked. "I thought you would want some company for breakfast."
Linda shifted her glasses and eyed the doctor for a moment. There just seemed to be something about his eyes that seemed to capture her interest. They drew her in and made her forget her troubles. She smiled and peered down at the table.
"I was just doing some thinking." She said, "About the future."
"Would you care to discuss it?" Tulio asked trying to be as smooth as possible. "I mean if you want too, I won't force you."
Linda smiled and folded her hands together. With Blu, everything just seemed to come so natural, she never really needed to explain her feelings with another person before. "I really want to try and stay here with Blu." She explained. "He's been a part of my life for the past fifteen years, I don't know what I would do without him."
Tulio nodded his head. "I understand what you mean. I once grew attached to a spotted owl. When the time came to let him go, I couldn't bring myself to do it."
"What did you do?" Linda asked.
Before Tulio could respond the P.A. system clicked on. "Paging Dr. Monteiro... you have a call on line one. Paging Dr. Moneteiro, you have a call on line one."
Tulio smiled at Linda and placed a hand upon hers. "That should be the lab results for Jewel's wing. I will tell you more of my story a little later on."
"Wait," Linda said, standing up. "I'm coming with you."
# # #
Blu came alert as the automated lock detached itself from its position. The door swung open and a scientist entered. "Hey you two." He smiled. "Here's some breakfast for you."
Jewel licked her lips, rushing over to the food as fast as her talons would allow her to move. She stuffed her face with the fresh fruits and berries. "Mmmmmmmmm heavenly." Jewel moaned, letting the tropical flavours dance off her tongue. She peered back at Blu who hadn't moved from where he stood. "Aren't you going to have some, Pet?" She asked, holding up a half eaten mango. "It's really good."
Blu held up a wing and shook his head. "No, you're the one who needs her strength. It wouldn't be proper."
The female macaw rolled her eyes and threw him a plate of the freshly assorted fruits, melons, and berries. She walked over to him and seated herself. "Think of this as our second date." She smiled. "Our first was the adventure to get ourselves unchained."
"Are you sure?" Blu asked. "I wouldn't want to impose."
"Eat it!" Jewel sighed. "Come on, it won't kill me if you ate a little bit."
Blu nodded his head and eyed the fruit. He picked up a small round greyish purple fruit and eyed it. "What's this?" he asked.
Jewel studied the object for a moment. Her smiled deepened as she nudged him with her wing. "That's a passion fruit."
"Is it any good?" Blu asked, sniffing the strange plant. "I've never seen anything like it before."
"I don't know," She sighed. "I haven't had a passion fruit since I was a little chick."
Blu began to dig through the assorted fruits and found himself another one of the strange looking plants. He tossed it to Jewel and smiled. "Eat it," he grinned. "That way we can discuss it later."
Jewel took a quick bite. "Oh my goodness, Blu, you have got to try this!" She exclaimed. "It's so sweet and the flavours stick in your mouth."
Blu bit into the fruit. He swished the juices around for a minute and spit out a large seed. "It's good, but it has too many seeds. Kind of like a watermelon, those seeds are annoying and-" the macaw's voice trailed off as he noticed Jewel's confused face. He often forgot how intelligent he was at times. "I'm sorry, Jewel." He mumbled. "I seem to babble at times. What I really meant was that it has a lot of seeds."
"I know, Pet." Jewel said, wrapping her wing around the blue macaw. "I like when you get all nerdy on me."
Tulio picked up the phone receiver and held it to his ear. Typing in his password, he switched the phone over to line one."Ola, this is Dr. Monteiro. How can I help you this morning?" he asked grabbing a note pad and pencil from off a nearby desk.
Linda listened to the soft hum of the receiver and gauged Tulio's reaction as he quickly jotted down notes.
"Why that is good news," he said, "Jewel certainly is a lucky bird, isn't she."
Linda eyed Tulio for a moment, remaining at a complete loss for words. Her mind focused upon the notes he continued to write down.
"All right, thank you Dr. Adriana. Tchau." Tulio hung up the receiver and placed it upon the base. He eyed Linda with a confident smile. "Well, we got some good news. Jewel's wing is only fractured in two separate places. There's no other damage, not even to the wing structure or main tendons. With a splint it should only take a few months to fix."
Linda nodded her head. "That is good news. Blu will probably be happy to hear that."
"Yes," Tulio agreed. "Let's go give the news to the lovebirds in person. We might even be able to take Jewel to the treatment room and attach a splint."