A/N: These ideas just popped into my head at some point and I had the urge to write them all down… So here they are! First one is probably going to be the sweetest… but remember these will be parallel to my Like a Wave universe, so… no sequels… Eh. ANYwho, let us begin!
Dribble One: Return of a Defunct
Giggles erupted from her throat, summoning Nigel's consciousness. He peeled open his eyes and blinked to see a little chick bouncing up and down on his soft, pliable belly, eyes wide with mischief. "Baby girl…" he whispered sleepily. "Whatever possessed you to convince yourself of this wake-up call?" Aadi's eyes gleamed in the morning sun. She clambered across his belly, placing both stubby wings on his chest, and gently leaned forwards to press her tiny beak against the bridge of his own.
"Fun!" she cried in response. "Fun, fun, fun! I want to have fun!" Nigel moaned, flopping back against the nest. He should have anticipated this when he awoken. Aadi was, of course, almost always energetic when she woke. The sulphur crested cockatoo resisted the urge to lightly smack the top of her head playfully and instead grumbled and curled up on his side, knocking Aadi from his chest. But Aadi did not resign.
The chick relaxed and landed down beside his belly. Instead of going all-out play, she gave a tiny yawn and nuzzled herself into the softness of his belly plumes. His breathing rose and fell with his stomach, gently warming her up. "Papa?" Nigel blinked open his eyes to glance at her expectantly. "I love you."
His heart melted. Such a lovely thing to say, in the midst of morning. "I love you too." He sighed, curling over her. The hatchling kissed the bridge of his beak, causing his face to erupt with a deep, scarlet red color. Aadi giggled softly and curled up against his chest as he, not purposefully, unleashed a series of purrs. Nigel nudged her softly with his beak. "Too much of a mischievous one, you are…" smooth little coos followed, rumbling in her throat. "Too much…"
"Too much, Daddy?" interrogated Aadi, her eyes widening. "Does that mean you don't like it, and you want me to stop?"
He gently pressed a feather against her beak and whispered, "Never." Relief eased her tensed eyes.
"Good." She murmured, golden eyes drooping. "Because I never want to change who I am, even if someone doesn't like it." Nigel beamed. Such a proud little chick who cared nothing of what anyone thought of her. He raised her well. "Well," the chick continued in a blissful manner, "I wanna go see Rafi today. Can we, huh? Can we?" Aadi straightened up and excitably bounced around. "Maybe we can play tag, or hide-and-seek, or grounders, or pull-the-parent's-feathers-out, or-" Nigel hastily cut her off before she got any ideas.
"Alright, we'll depart! But take into account that I'm sentient, unlike someone I know." He sighed, sitting up into a more comfortable position. "Just don't pin me to the soil, fair enough? I've been through sufficient with you." Yawning luxuriously, the sulphur crested cockatoo stretched his enormous wings to their limits. "We leave… after you get washed up." Aadi moaned in protest, but reluctantly complied.
After he had forcibly shoved the hatchling into the lake, scrubbing her down and then lightly drying her off, Nigel inspected her. He had done a rather clumsy job when gently nibbling the water from her plumes; she was now a big pile of gossamer feathers. Her real figure was barely noticeable beneath the layers of fluffiness. Nigel gave a soft chuckle. "You look… ecstatic, my dear." The cockatoo hatchling looked down at herself and scowled.
Affronting her sarcastic response, Nigel scooped her up into his wings and lugged her in the direction of Rafael's hollow. "Now, now. Temper-wise." He warned, feet dragging along the ground. Aadi grumbled to herself, finding the situation completely unfair. She swung her wings around his neck loosely and rested her head against his neck and supported by his shoulder. She lay, dazed, sleepily awaiting their arrival to the toco toucan's dwelling- of course, to be ambushed by the other chicks…
"ATTAAAAAACK!" came Alex's battle cry. Nigel stiffened and broke into a run, racing against flight to shelter. "Wheee!" a chick catapulted into his spine, knocking the cockatoo over with a grunt. Then the ivory bird crossly found his feet again.
"Don't force me to the extent of calling your mother." He intimidated, eyes narrowed into two leers, beak curled back into a snarl. The toucan chicks swallowed hard at his livid expression and whirled around to scuttle a far distance from the treacherous-looking bird. "Mmmmmm. That's more like it," observed Nigel. He glanced back to see Rafael sighing and crossing his wings. "Multiple times won't work when taming your wee beasts." Nigel joked, his golden crest bristling from the prior events. The glossy toucan smiled.
"Aye ye ye. Meu amigo, when will you learn to forgive that one time when Alex and Addison threw rocks at you in your first day in redemption?" laughed the toco toucan. Nigel's beam immediately faltered.
"That's not quite what I-"
"It doesn't matter," Rafael interposed. "How about little Aadi goes to occupy the toucan chicks, while we do some catching up?" this made the sulphur crested cockatoo beam once again. The chick that had been curled up in his wings was snoozing lightly and gently awoken to see Nigel's soft, affectionate face.
"Do you want to engage in recreation with the others?" he questioned quietly, tenderly nuzzling her with his beak. Aadi gave a weak nod. "Alright. Don't go remote past my console boundary, mmm?" Aadi recuperated and scrambled from his wings, eyes gleaming as she scuttled over to her eighteen cousins.
"ALEX! WAIT FOR ME!" she cried. Nigel exchanged a look with Rafael and shrugged dismissively.
"… You were saying?"
"Guys, would you wait a moment?" Aadi spat crossly, her tiny legs at the verge of aching. The toucans in front of her, though far off, pulled to a slow at her angry cry, allowing her to draw near. "Thank you!" she sighed. "Now what're we gonna do?"
Alex and one of his siblings exchanged a glance. "Dunno. Hide-and-seek?" Aadi's face brightened, and she whooped in excitement. The toucans snickered as she did a little happy dance, swaying her wings in the air.
"Yay!" she pulled to a slow, her cloudy white wings freezing rigid in the air as the 'pink' cockatoo realized that they had been watching her. "Uuh. Did you see all of it?"
"Every bit." Smirked Alex. Aadi gave a sigh of despair. "Aw. Let's just get started on that game you were so excited about, okay? Maybe you can get your mind off of that." Sympathetically, the toucan hopped to her side and gently yanked at some feathers in her shoulder, smoothing out the gossamer texture. "Ready?"
Her eyes lit up like the world was made of flora. "Totally!" then the cockatoo hatchling scuttled away in a hurry, listening to Alex count down from human twenty.
"Twenty… nineteen… eighteen… seventeen… sixteen… fifteen… fourteen…" in a hurry, she slid into a bush. "Thirteen… twelve…" after he had finished counting, Alex scampered around the forest clearing. "Come out, come out, wherever you are!" he called merrily. Aadi snickered. Not on your life! Abruptly, Alex's two big tanned eyes popped into the thickets with her. Squealing, Aadi jumped away and ran, a goofy grin embedded in her complexion.
"Noooo!" she laughed, being in pursuit by a homogenous copy of Rafael. "No, I don't wanna be caught! No fair!" the little toucan giggled and leaped out, catching her wing with his own. Triumphal, he froze on spot and brought Aadi to a leisure pace. The hatchling trapped wailed. "Aw, c'mon. Give me 'nother chance!" Alex smirked and released her.
"Okay! You'd better hide where I can't get you this time." Taking the opportunity before his mind bowdlerized, Aadi ran to the trunk of a mango tree, only to trip on a thick, solid rock…
"AAH!" she cried, her bare leg scraping along the ground. Blood oozed from the long elicit. Aadi's throat automatically liberated a summoning call for her parent, small and shrill. The thickets before her rustled at the beckon, making the wounded chick flinch in befuddlement. She thought Nigel was back behind her, way back.
"Aadi! Are you all right?" said two voices in unison. One from the bush, sounding female… and one from behind her, sounding of a masculine tint. Her Papa… and… that voice… she knew it somewhere, from the back of her cranium… memories… Aadi gasped out loud. Nigel approached from behind her, scooping her into his wings. "Baby girl. What occurred—Oh my." His maple eyes caught sight of his chick's bloodied legs. "Don't you fret over this. We'll cleanse it and place solution on it. Alright?" Aadi did not respond. Her golden eyes were trained over his shoulder, horrified and fearful, towards a feminine figure that stood in front of a bush of ferns. His eyes slowly followed her trail of petrified emotions, only to cause him to double back and collapse to his knees in complete, utter shock. It couldn't be. She was dead. She was gone. His very first friend… she was defunct! This was impossible! Yet he knew he was not seeing things.
He knew, without doubt, that this was Freyja standing before him.
Her divine hazel eyes bore into his russet. Her pure, heavenly red head feathers were smooth and silky, cleaned as if she had not received a wound. Aadi was staring in utter rapture and unbelievable tears. The hatchling kept shaking her head until finally, she broke. Tears ran in rivulets down her face as Aadi cried out, digging her head into her Papa's shoulder. "No! Mama's gone!" Nigel hushed her and softly ran his flight plumes down the back of her head, eyes trained on Freyja, who was enthralled by his protection for her biological chick. Singing a light, gentle lullaby, he stood up again and swayed from side to side in a soothing manner.
"Hush those tears
Let them dry free
So leave the weeping
For the willow tree…"
Once the hatchling's sobbing had ceased, Nigel vigilantly made his way to Freyja. Her eyes were wide as the female cockatoo stared at him in disbelief. "Nigel…" her voice was as fresh as honey. The sulphur crested cockatoo could not help but to stare in rapture at her beautiful voice. She was alive. His crush was alive- wait, did he just think that? No. Not crush. Bad thoughts, bad. Freyja's complexion twisted to reveal a mischievous smile. "So I see… that you've gotten to know New Beginning." Nigel stared, flustered by the facetious expression, that his face turned tepid as he tried to argue. But just as he found the words to speak, Freyja threw her wings around him and pulled Nigel in for a loving kiss. He was rigid for a moment but loosened. Then as the cockatoo female pulled away with a smile. "That was to make you shut up… sort of…" suddenly embarrassed, Freyja's face burned a deep red. "Um… Sorry?"
Nigel gave a dumbfounded look, clearly thinking over what just occurred. Then his complexion blushed as well. "Um…" Aadi was still resting in his wings, giggling away at both her parents' expressions. The sulphur crested cockatoo glimpsed at her. "… I don't find this situation any less humorous than the time you spewed water at me in Lake Juma." He retorted, his maple eyes glimmering in nervousness. His cheeks still burned a bright red. Freyja's tint had faded.
"I think you look kind of cute when you're embarrassed." She teased. Nigel's eyes flashed.
"I do not!"
"BOTH OF YOU LOOK JUST FINE! BREAK IT UP!" Aadi interposed. They glared at each other for just a moment before a smile erupted on both their features. Aadi had that effect. Their chick had that effect. Freyja gave a sheepish smile, broadening it when Nigel returned the breezy beam.
He placed the hatchling on the ground and grabbing the other cockatoo by her hips, twirling her in the air. The hatchling giggled as she watched her Mama blush furiously. Then a concern crossed her juvenile mind. "What… what'll happen now? I don't wanna be separated from Papa, and live with just you, Mama." As her talons brushed the steady ground again, Freyja comfortably laced her wing in Nigel's then they both stared at each other, unsure. The interrogate had aroused newly found issues. Unless…
Nigel gave his discovered… mate a smile. "Mm. I think… we can all live together." Freyja nodded, kneeling down to her chick. Aadi climbed into her mother's wings and sighed, eyes flickering. "Are you drained?" Nigel asked softly, reaching through Freyja's grip to rub his chick's cheeks. Aadi gave a sleepy yawn, eyeing her bloodied leg. It was just a scratch appearing to be more than it was. "Let's get that mended, and then we can go rest. Alright?" To his mate, he added, "We have a willow tree on the far side of the jungle. I think you will enjoy it as much as we do."
Wing in wing, they walked together, never separated by thoughts or situations.