Hello. I have returned. Sort of. I did say that once I finished Imperfect I'd be retiring from the archive. But you know what? When I'm done, I'll just say so. I think that's best.

While I have your attention; anyone who said "Where is part two of Desperate Measures", there won't be one. I marked it incomplete by mistake. In the end, the events of the film continue as they usually do, with Blu and Jewel sharing their kiss, Blu learning to fly, etc. etc. This, however, will have a second chapter. It is also canon to Imperfect.

Anyways, speaking of this story. I wrote the original a long long time ago and it wasn't very good as I was a new author. I've kept it up for evolution's sake, but please... Don't go back and read it. It is not good at all. Good for a first attempt, but not now.

Before you read this story, however, I would like to make it pertinently known that this story might not have even come to be if it weren't for CSX GP40-3. He's proofread my work and suggested changes and provided me with various bits of information. I extend my warmest of thanks to him for his help. If you would like to help me write something or if you need help writing something, PM me, and I'll see what I can do for you.

Will I post anything else? We'll see. I might well remaster all of my older stories. We shall see. However, Barely Human and Tough Love are dead. I highly doubt they will ever be finished.

I won't let this drag on any longer. Enjoy this new and improved story!

At first there was a blinding yellow, and streaks of blue, then humidity. The sun and the sky. The two macaws flew together as a pair, soaring through the air without a single care, and they exchanged pleased looks at each other as they flew side by side. They were returning to their hollow where they lived with their three beautiful children. They were happy because they had a surprise for them. They felt in their hearts how happy they were that they would be giving their children such a wonderful surprise.

It was then that the two birds broke their formation, and Blu went off to the side and landed on a tree branch and looked at Jewel, longingly. He walked backwards into the shadow of the branch, where another face came into view; it was that of a snake's. Jewel's heart froze, and the world fell out of focus in the frost of her mind. The sky turned from as blue as her exquisite plumage to a shade of gray more comparable to wet cement, and as grainy as an old silent film.

Jewel flew over to the tree branch, which seemed to become the only thing within sight. The faces of both her mate and the snake looked at her with identical blank expressions.

Then there was a sudden animation in their faces; the snake grimaced at her as Jewel's feet touched down on the branch. Blu seemed to cower in fear. She bared down on the reptile that tried to steal away her mate, but it was to no avail. The snake had a head on each end of its body, and Jewel learned this the hard way when the obscured head of the conjoined beast bit deeply into her breast. She winced, and the graininess of the sky descended onto the whole of her world. The jaws of the head that belonged to the beast clamped down so hard that Jewel felt her internal bone structure crack under the pressure at each individual point of which the jaws obliterated in the upper chest portion of her skeleton. And when the head withdrew, it did so silently, the teeth emerging without their serrated edges removing a large chunk of her flesh. Instead, when the head was clear and Jewel looked at it, it just looked back at her, its teeth in clear view without a single stain on them. When she inspected her chest, instinctually, there were merely two dots where the teeth had sunk in. She felt as though she had been snapped in half like a rotten twig, or as though she were a crunchy autumn leaf that had been stood on, but in actuality, she was just as staunch as she usually was.

The two-headed snake and Blu looked at her with the same expression; totally blank emptiness. Their faces were as barren as the frost that coated the background of Jewel's mind.

The beast then manoeuvred its other head from being under the branch to bite Jewel, to join the seemingly dominant head at Blu's side. The creature then coiled itself around Blu and squeezed tight, but his expression did not change.

"Honey? Honey, are you… Okay?" said Blu, confused. The beast constricted him with a force below the point of lethality.

"You're… You're being…" began Jewel, unable to finish her sentence, and watching as her mate was crushed before her eyes by a two-headed snake. She felt determined to stop what was happening to him.

Jewel put one foot in front of the other to try and get the snake off of her mate, but as soon as she did, she was overcome with a sense of numbness, and her entire body felt as though it had gone from being controlled by her brain, to being controlled by a white hot fuzz, and she could only stand still as she went totally numb across every part of herself that she could feel. Jewel keeled over and looked at her mate. Try as she might, and she most certainly did, she could not move.

He looked back at her, with concern.

"Woah, woah. Honey, are you… Dreaming? You're shaking like a leaf," he responded with inordinate amounts of level headedness given the fact he was being ventrically penetrated with every passing second.

The force exerted by the snake was so tremendous that it caused the entire structure of Blu's body to collapse in on itself, and shatter into a million pieces like a brick hurled through a window. The beast fell apart, too, until it was just Jewel left on the branch, which also crumbled away under her feet.

The grainy grey of Jewel's neural frost transitioned into a deep black as she fell into the void, and then it flashed into a shade of very dark purple, and her vision was engaged.

Blu said, although he seemingly no longer existed, "Jewel, my love, wake up!"

At first there were only lights, then shapes, then colours, but none of that mattered, because an instinctual fear gripped the female's heart and demanded that she react.

Jewel screamed, but she was no longer dreaming; her shrill cry was very real, and this shook Blu to his core.

At this point, the nightmare ended. It wasn't real.

The female had gotten to her feet and was looking around for a threat or for something to fight as she took some of the deepest breaths of her life, but there was nothing. She abandoned her aggressive stance after no more than two seconds.

"Jewel, honey, are you okay?" soothed Blu, standing behind her to her left, observing the female as she lay near the entrance to their shared hollow. It was night time, around midnight, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky; the stars shone down over the bay and the moon complimented them perfectly while working with the yellow glow of manmade lights to create the backlight to a scene of urban magnificence. Lofty rays of moonlight illuminated the side of her face with a ghostly white glow, and the other with a dark shade; the only thing that penetrated this darkness was the blue radiance of her right eye.

Blu surveyed the body-language of his mate, before voicing his observations, "You're shivering! Oh no! You had a nightmare?" he asked, somewhat needlessly.

Jewel just went on shivering, she was scared stiff, but began to come around.

Blu didn't need an invitation to hold his wife when she was in distress, and now was no exception. "Oh, hush sweetheart, it's okay. Come here. It's okay honey, I'm here," whispered Blu, trying to repeat the pet names he used to refer to Jewel to build her back up.

Jewel tried to say something, but it didn't work. She only succeeded in choking up.

Blu despaired, and shushed her, gently, before softly commanding her, "Come here. Get in my wings," he said, kindly.

Jewel responded to this by simply collapsing against him. She was still shivering, but she soon began to relax, letting out a sigh as her facial expression stayed in a tense, yet neutral position. Blu's soft plumage made contact with her cheek which triggered an immediate dopamine release within the female which in turn caused her to give in, and wrap her wings around him in return.

"Oh honey..." whispered Blu, snuggling up to her affectionately. He laid his cheek against the top of his mate's head and gently rocked her to and fro like she were a baby he was tenderly cradling, although they were both on their two feet.

"Breathe, Jewel. Breathe. That will help, I promise," he said, his voice as soft as the feathers that coated their bodies. The female obliged him and sucked in a vast amount of oxygen, and felt herself running at full capacity as she did. It was pleasing for her to take such a deep breath; it kept the fire in her heart burning.

"Good," began Blu, his voice of the same quality as before, "And let it out, slowly," he finished, waiting for his mate to do as he described.

Jewel kept her oxygen pent up for around five seconds, which began starving her lungs thus directly causing a descent of her internal activity. Her heart rate began to return to normal, slowly, and Jewel heeded her mate's suggestion and exhaled all the air she had in supply.

"That's it…" complimented Blu, "Breathe in again, sweetheart," instructed the male. Jewel did as he said, taking in more air, but not so much this time around, so that she didn't make herself work any harder. Her decline was far more rapid now. She was now just waiting for her heart rate to steady out, fully.

"There we go..." assured Blu, "Keep going. Breathe in... Breathe out..."

Jewel continued Blu's breathing exercise, and as she did, she calmed herself, completely. The female found herself standing next to her mate in his embrace while being cradled gently. She felt small gusts of night air tickling her facial feathers as she was gently rocked from side to side. Her breathing was now totally normal. Her heart rate had flattened to a normal figure and the dopamine that had been released by cuddling up to her mate took control.

She abandoned her tense facial expression and her features collapsed from firm neutrality to content, though reserved joy; a smile curving in her beak and her eyes reflexively closing. She held her husband tighter and he detected that her breathing had returned to normal and he was no longer able to feel resistance when he squeezed her in return. They continued to rock, ever so gently, to and fro like an autumn leaf would rock on the tip of a tree branch before falling to the earth below. Although, our couple are far from destined to fall.

"Do you need anything? Water?" asked Blu. Jewel shook her head.

"No?" he asked, waiting to see if Jewel corrected herself, which she did not, so the male continued, "That's okay, sweetheart. You're in my wings now, nothing will happen," soothed Blu. He spoke in a simple, soft voice that made Jewel feel safe, and warm, not just through physical contact.

"Thank you, my love," breathed Jewel, now relaxed and content, but still shaken.

"It must have been a really bad dream. ``Do you wish to talk about it?" he asked, kindly. Jewel shook her head. She didn't want to think about the snippets of her dream that she could remember.

"That's okay, we'll just relax right here for now," he decided, before laughing softly and telling her, "It works for me, because I get to hold you tightly like this," he admitted.

The pair remained sidled up against one another, their feathers intertwined like a kind of soft velcro, their wings laced together, Jewel's head resting in the confines of Blu's neck, his head against the top of hers all while their two sets of eyes soaked in the night time view of the bay that lay sprawled below them.

"I'm sorry for waking you up, Blu," whispered Jewel, ashamed for having her mate need to look after her.

"No! No, no, no, don't apologise for waking me up. I'm always here. I'll always take care of you. There's no need to feel embarrassed," he promised, before trying to level with her statement and devalue the need for shame, "I know bad dreams, and how scary they are. I'll be here. I'll keep holding onto you," he paused before finishing, "my angel."

Hearing herself described with such a word brought joy to Jewel's soul and she exhaled in a sigh and wondered if her mate could be any better.

As if he could read her thoughts, Blu lifted his head off of Jewel's for a second, and after that second plus another half of one had passed, a soft kiss was planted on the top of her head, forward from her plumage and much higher than her forehead.

A quiet squeak escaped her throat that was just loud enough for her mate to hear. It sounded as though a mouse had just reacted to spotting the biggest piece of cheese in the world.

Blu laughed, "What was that?" he asked. Jewel felt slightly embarrassed, but her jovial tone remained, "If you kiss me when I don't expect it, then you should expect a reaction quite like the one you just heard," she answered. Blu followed up with, "That was so adorable. It was like a little hamster after receiving a new wheel for Christmas."

Jewel felt puzzled. "I'm not even going to pretend I know what a 'hanster' is. Whatever kind of animal it may be, I've yet to see one," she responded. Blu didn't bother explaining precisely what a hamster was, but tried to justify his simile by saying, "Hamsters are like mice and they go squeak. Like you just did."

The female laughed in a slightly awkward manner and squeezed her mate as she told him, "You know, it'd be so much better if you compared me, or the things I do, or even the noises I make to things I actually understand."

Jewel heard him inhale to respond to her statement, and he got out a couple of words before she stopped him via pinning a primary feather up against his beak. "Well, I…" he began as Jewel cut him off rather abruptly, by shushing him.

"Don't change even a bit, Blu," she began, removing her primary from his beak and instead placing it on his side, and moving her other wing to be roughly parallel to it on his other side, holding onto him fairly loosely with a gap between their chests of a few inches and pulling him to face her, "Your quirky American roots are what make me feel so… Invested in you. We're polar opposites but you're just so… Different. You stand out, and that's why I love you," she explained, her voice going from soft as a feather, to soft as velvet due to the fact that her feminine wiles had been employed in her speech to please the senses of the male as their conversation took a more romantic turn. She finished her statement with, "Among other things," as she eyed up his handsome visage. She still found him attractive even when his beak was open in a mixture of both shock and joy as it was, presently.

He thought of an adequate response to his mate's statement. He decided to make one up as he went along.

"Well… Don't you change, either, sweetheart. You're my real jungle girl. You're so wild, and… And… Free," he began, trying to compliment Jewel in a similar manner, "It feels weird that I'm looking after you for a change. You are the one that usually babysits me," he admitted.

Jewel was pleased with his response, "Your jungle girl, huh? Well, I must be. I wouldn't know what a 'babysitter' was if you didn't tell me a little while back. But… Yeah. I am pretty wild, aren't I?" she asked, looking for more admiration.

"Yeah. You are. You're my protector. My precious Jewel, who keeps me safe and loves me with all of her heart," he replied, before adding, "Which is good, because, if you didn't, I'd be terrified of you," he finished.

Jewel laughed, "Terrified? Of me? I wouldn't harm a-" she stopped herself mid sentence after questioning the legitimacy of the answer of 'fly' that she was about to give after remembering that she periodically ate them if it came to it. "I wouldn't harm a…" she continued, trying to think of a suitable animal that she would never bring harm to.

She gave up and admitted, "Okay. I'd kill just about anything smaller than me if I had a good enough reason. And you're definitely smaller than me when it comes to it," she observed, eyeing up her mate.

They exchanged glances for a few seconds and remained silent.

Jewel chuckled quietly, "Hush. Don't be afraid of me," she began, "I'd never lay an ill talon on the bird who," she tailed off her sentence to add an air of mystique as she used the time to close the gap between the pair, before finishing her sentence, "Leapt to certain death to be with me a little longer."

Blu was frozen under the female's spell. Her eyes were bewitching.

"I remember you told me about your travels. You had few friends, and other birds were afraid of you," the male remembered, out loud.

"That's right. That's right," whispered Jewel, descending upon him by closing the gap between them completely so that their chests both touched, and heads bobbed close. "And I found it so… Sweet. So suicidally brave, and at the same time… A bit stupid," she admitted, before continuing with a spark of joy dancing in her eyes, "You saw something in me that made you want to throw your life away. And it wasn't how I looked, because, well, you're not that kind of bird. So what kind of a bird are you?" she asked him.

Blu gasped quietly when she made contact with him yet again. Something about the touch of her feathers against his gave him a feeling of joy. He responded to her question, "I'm the kind of nerd bird who knew that spending the last moments of my life with you was the smartest idea I've ever had. And at that moment, I wasn't afraid of you at all. I saw you for who you were. A beautiful, young and spirited girl who just wants to be free. And when you kissed me?" he asked, expecting Jewel to pick up on his sentence as he knew she would.

"When I kissed you, it was a simple way of telling you," she began, inhaling deeply and looking at his beak in anticipation, "that I wanted to be free with you. Not by myself. I'm not a monster. I'm a macaw. And I needed a mate. And you were the only one who didn't view me by my looks, but... so deeply by the content of my character that…" she continued, stopping herself as she got lost in her own words. She tried again, "So deeply by the…" She failed to finish her sentence as she was too distracted. Her head drew closer to Blu's, so close that their beaks almost touched. Once more she attempted to finish her sentence, "You were the only one who…" She failed yet again. The distance between the couple's beaks was now virtually nothing.

"Jewel. Tell me again that you want to be free, not by yourself, but with me," instructed Blu, in a low voice that was geared for the anticipation of what was about to come.

"I thought you'd never ask," whispered Jewel, seizing the opportunity to kiss Blu. She tilted her head to the side and savoured her mate just as she did when she jumped out of the plane such a seemingly long time ago, now. Almost in unison, as they maintained their contact, two wings, one belonging to Blu and the other belonging to Jewel, made their way up the napes of the opposite bird to find themselves situated behind their heads.

It was the sweetest scene you could imagine. Both birds held tightly to each other, and savoured their contact, their eyes closed. There was no sexual tension in the air, whatsoever. The pair at that moment in time just wanted to reminisce about the time they had spent together and had loved each other. How they came to be with one another, and how they got to be where they are today.

The pair broke off from their kiss after a good seven seconds, which was roughly the same length of time that the one they shared upon falling from the plane lasted.

Blu and Jewel, now reinvigorated with their shared contact, faced one another. They simply soaked in each other's facial features for a few seconds as they breathed at a marginally higher pace than average to make up for seven seconds without oxygen.

"If I kissed you to say that I wanted to be free with you, then, what did it mean to you?" asked Jewel, an edge of curiosity in her voice. Blu looked puzzled, "Sorry?" He floundered. "I mean… When I kiss you it is like saying that I want to be free, but with you. So, when you kiss me, what does it say?" alliterated Jewel.

"Oh!" realised Blu, before answering his mate, "Well… I guess it just means that I love you. That I uh, accept your message? I hope you didn't expect more," he finished with a short awkward chuckle.

"I was expecting something along the lines of… When you kiss me, it's like you saying that you accept me, and vow to look after me. Like you just ha-" she explained, but was cut off by her mate. "Yes," he interrupted, before accepting her suggestion, "That's true. So… When we kiss, mutually I mean, it means that we, uh… You are saying that you want to be free just with me, and I am saying that I'll look after you to the best of my abilities and that I definitely accept you," he answered, just before he remembered another point, "Oh! And, of course, that I love you, too," he finished, looking at his mate with doe-eyes.

Jewel met his gaze and cocked her head to the side a little. "Awe," she crooned, removing her right wing from his side, where it had remained since they broke the kiss along with her left one on its respective side, temporarily so that she could stroke the top of his head, quickly. Jewel made short motions on his cranium which was enough to send him into the deep throes of joy. He closed his eyes and let her work her comforting magic. "Naturally…" She began, her voice a soft whisper, "When I kiss you, it also means that I love you. I don't think it is possible to not say it in that situation," finished Jewel, maintaining her soft tone.

"Naturally," responded Blu, dreamily as Jewel continued to stroke the top of his head. This action combined with the kissing and her general drowsiness flooded her body with yet more dopamine, and in general, she felt extremely tired, and this showed itself to her mate when she yawned.

"Awe… Is my jungle girl tired?" asked Blu, with a smile, taking it upon himself, this time, to physically support his mate. "Yeah, but you don't need to hold me up. I'm not about to sleep while standing up. Besides, there's one thing I need to see before I can go back to sleep," responded Jewel. Blu raised an eyebrow as if to say, "What is it?" and Jewel replied, "My children. I screamed. What if they're awake and worried about me?"

"Oh! You're right! They could well be," responded Blu, his demeanour descending to concern.

The two birds made their way over to the separate part of the hollow in which their children lay, which was raised up somewhat. The tree in which the family resided had been hollowed out, somewhat. The adults shared a nest that sat snugly within sight of the exit, and their children had a wing to themselves, if you'll pardon the pun. The two lovers knew that if their children were awake, they would hear most of the words they said below, so it was likely they knew everything was alright, but Jewel, ever the model mother, didn't want to be unsure.

Upon coming level with the entrance to the small cosy chamber, Jewel was greeted with the sight of her three children laid out in the same nest close to one another. Their names were Tiago, the youngest and only male, Bia, the middle female and Carla who was the oldest female. Tiago was near the rearmost part of the chamber, while Carla laid to the right side. Bia was to the left, and was the only child that met her gaze. There was no room for Blu to look into the chamber alongside her. Once Jewel had kindled her gaze on her son and two daughters, she withdrew her head and gave Blu a warm smile and whispered, "They're okay. I'll come to nest, soon."

Blu met her smile and gave her a similar one, nodded and made his way back towards the nest in which the couple slept in together every night.

Jewel, meanwhile, met the gaze of her middle child. "It's late, my darling, you should be asleep. Did I wake you?" She spoke, her voice as soft as the night air. Bia responded, "You did wake me, Ma. You woke us all up when you screamed. We were really really worried, but Pa calmed you down. We listened but it seemed like you were okay so we didn't worry and just went back to sleep, but I stayed awake because I couldn't get back to sleep and I ended up hearing what you were saying to Pa and it was really sweet."

Jewel digested what her daughter had told her. She sighed and told her, "Your Pa is a very special bird, and I tell him that whenever I can. Sometimes in creative ways." Bia seemed to disregard this answer, "You did the kissy stuff which is yucky. I didn't look for that bit," she told her. Jewel chuckled, lightly, "You're very observant, aren't you, sweetheart? I hope our yucky kissing didn't disturb you," she replied. Bia gave her a blunt statement in reply, "I don't know why you don't just tell him that you love him rather than do the kissing. It's why we can speak so that we can talk to each other."

Jewel chose her next words wisely, "A kiss shared between two birds is very special, and it can mean many things, my dear. One day, you'll find out for yourself," she answered.

Bia looked at her mother, "Maybe I will. You and Pa do it a lot, so it must be special," she mused, before adding, "You also call each other names a lot. Like earlier, Pa called you jungle girl," she finished.

Jewel felt slightly embarrassed that her young daughter had overheard her father's compliments. She sucked in a quick breath and prepared to respond, but before she had a chance to respond, Bia cut in, "Don't be embarrassed. It was sweet," she interjected. Her mother let her breath go in a somewhat deflated manner, but retained enough to give a different and more relevant response, "I'm glad you think so," she told her, before finishing their interaction, "So. I'm sorry for waking you, my darling. I just had a bad dream, is all. And I hope you weren't so traumatised by our yucky kissing. I didn't think you'd be awake; it wasn't until a few minutes ago I realised you might be," she admitted, before continuing, "And while your Pa might call me names, you can just stick to calling me Ma, or, Mum. If you started calling me jungle girl, then I'd feel a bit awkward," finished Jewel with a laugh. She didn't worry about Bia being incapable of grasping what she was saying; from a young age, the girl was inordinately intelligent and was capable of talking a long time before her siblings. This was due mostly to the fact that she took interest in Blu doing maths, and paying attention when he taught her. Jewel was jungle smart, but she couldn't imagine teaching her children to be as smart as Bia was.

"Don't worry Ma. I wouldn't do that to you. It wouldn't be right," responded Bia. Jewel was pleased with this answer. "That's my girl," she responded, before adding, "I think it's time for you to go back to sleep, now. It's even time for me to sleep, so it's well past the time for you to settle down," finished Jewel. "I do feel… Really sleepy. But there is one thing I don't understand," the young macaw pointed out, which intrigued her mother who replied with, "Oh? What is it?" Bia went on to explain, "I don't understand how you didn't have any friends, and why other birds were terrified of you, and I don't understand why you said you'd kill things that got in your way. That isn't my Ma, is it?" She pleaded, looking at her mother with solemn eyes. Jewel was torn. She took her daughter in her wings and spoke directly to her, "Please, my precious girl… Don't worry about what you heard, and don't be afraid of me. I love you with all of my heart, and no being would dare lay a fang, tooth or claw on you as long as I am alive to prevent it. They would not dare, I promise," she assured. Bia was convinced enough by her mother's sincerity, but there was still something missing, "I know you will. I believe you. But I don't think you have told me everything," replied Bia. Jewel relented, "So long as you understand that you are completely safe, that is all you need to know. I don't think I should really tell you about where I came from. It wouldn't be appropriate for you," she insisted, firmly, but with enough softness that Bia didn't feel as though she was being scolded. Her little face fell, "I see… Well, maybe another day. I think it has something to do with why you don't like to talk about your parents," she speculated. Jewel coughed and choked back a couple emotions that broke free which her daughter had inadvertently dislodged. The female prevented herself from scolding her daughter; it was not her fault. "You know, you really are my clever little girl, aren't you? You're right. That is why I don't like to… You know…" she began, and Bia completed her sentence, "Talk about your parents?" she said. Jewel cringed slightly, and confirmed her daughter's suspicions, "Yes. Yes, why I don't like to talk about… my parents. And I'd like you to keep this between us, okay? Just you and me, sweetie," proposed Jewel, to which Bia acknowledged, "Yeah?"

Jewel tied the knot, "Don't ask me that question again, please, my darling," she began, observing her daughter's expression attentively, "And don't tell Carla and Tiago about it. I just… Really really do not want to talk about them. Okay?" She finished. "I understand, I do, but, I won't share my speculations," replied Bia. Jewel found a neat way to change the subject, "That's a long word. Did Blu teach you?" asked Jewel. Bia shook her head, "No. You did. You have a way with words and I learned it from you. Pa teaches me maths, but I get my language from you, because you speak really well," she informed Jewel, who felt proud of herself for raising such a smart daughter. The two females exchanged smiles, and Jewel couldn't contain herself. She opened her wings to hug her daughter, who gratefully got to her feet to meet her, and as soon as she made contact with her mother's soft chest, they both closed their wings around each other. "I love you, my little wildflower…" whispered Jewel, holding her daughter as tightly as she dared without hurting her. "I love you, also, Ma," replied Bia, whose eyes were closed as she soaked in the feeling of the hug. Jewel ignored her quirky way of speaking. Bia's intelligence was what made her so special.

She released her daughter down into the confines of the nest so that she could rest. "Goodnight, Bia. Sweet dreams," whispered Jewel. Bia remained still, and her eyes were closed. Jewel simply looked at her and felt a sense of achievement. Her little angels lay asleep in front of her, and she loved each one of them with all of her heart. She wished she could take them all up in her wings and hug each of them, but of course, that would be irresponsible as they were all seemingly fast asleep. However, she met herself half way.

Jewel bobbed her head down to the floor where Bia lay, and as gently as only a mother could be, she planted a good night kiss on her daughter's forehead. She smiled and whispered a statement, followed by an honest question, "Kisses feel good... Is that why you share so many of them with Pa?"

Jewel smiled and replied, "You remember how I said that they can mean a variety of things? That one meant, 'I love you, and goodnight', and the ones I give to Blu, as you well heard, mean, 'I love you, and I want to be free with you, and raise our children together,' and when I tell him about you and the progress you make in your cognitive skills, he is always so proud," she whispered, her voice a cloud of parental affection. Bia was satisfied with this response, "It seems like 'cognitive' means my mind, doesn't it?" she asked, and Jewel nodded, so Bia continued her sentence, "You said earlier that you couldn't kiss without it meaning 'I love you'. So doesn't that mean that there are different kinds of love?" asked Bia. Jewel laughed softly and told her, "Yes. That's right. There are many different kinds. When I say I love you, it is known as Parental Love, and it is very strong, and when you hear it, you know that I vow to look after you, and just… Love you with everything I have. Even if you do sometimes ask the wrong questions," she answered.

Bia replied, "I'm sorry for asking. I didn't know until I did," and Jewel seeked to remove the guilt from her daughter's mind, "Don't feel bad, my darling. You didn't know. Just understand if I tell someone, whoever they are, not to talk about it," assured Jewel, before finishing, "Is that okay?"

Bia was pleased enough with this, "Of course," she acknowledged, with a yawn. "Goodnight, Ma. I love you, parentally," she whispered. Jewel chuckled, softly, and replied with, "I love you, too, parentally. Although, there isn't a need for adding the word 'parentally', my dear." Bia didn't seem to care, "I like…" she began, her voice broken up by a yawn, "...How it sounds," she finished. Jewel sighed and kept watch over Bia for a few seconds to make sure she was sufficiently on her way to dreamland.

"Bless you, my child…" she thought, "Bless you."

After around 30 seconds had passed, Jewel saw that her work was complete, and set off back to her mate. As she came down the crude 'staircase' in the side of the tree, which was no more than the inner parts of branches that had grown on the outside of the tree, Blu saw her arrival.

"Hi honey," he said, "How did it go with our children?" he asked. Jewel just kept the content smile she was wearing from when her daughter had fallen asleep, on her face as she wafted joyfully over to her mate, who was sitting comfortably in the nest, looking out at the bay through the entrance hole. He was looking at the far off eight-lane road that fed traffic to and from the city. He loved how the left side of the road was a solid red from the taillights of cars, and how the right was a solid white from the headlights. He took his eye off of this spectacle, which would be mundane to a human, but was fascinating to him, to face his mate. Immediately he melted inside to see her so happy, and to see how she practically danced over to him. He smiled and chuckled softly, "It went well, then?" he asked. Jewel did not reply. When she had danced over to the nest, she wasted no time collapsing inside, and seizing her mate in a hostile cuddling attack. She lay up against him and held onto him around his neck and back with her wings, and he instinctively turned to face her. "Well, my love, you are in a good-" he began, but was cut off. When he locked eye contact with Jewel and opened his beak, she simply kissed him. It was a quick kiss, but it was enough to make the male emit a clipped moan of pleasure. "Oh, honey, I wasn't expecting that. Care to… Fill me in with what happened?" he asked her. "Certainly," purred Jewel, fixing him with a gaze before continuing, "But not until we've gotten a little more comfortable," she finished. "Of course," acknowledged Blu, shifting himself to lay on his side, and Jewel did the same, until they were in the right position to be able to sidle up to one another and cuddle while being able to maintain eye contact. Once they wished to sleep, one of them would elect to volunteer their chest for their partner to rest their head on.

"So… Beautiful. What has gotten you so happy?" quizzed Blu. Jewel sighed, in a content manner, and said, "Well, not only do I have the bestest mate I could ever, ever wish for," she began, giving the bestest mate she could ever ever wish for a kiss before continuing, "but I also have the most beautiful, and intelligent children," she finished. Blu smiled and said, "You have raised them well," to which Jewel scoffed and said, "Honey, I only talked to Bia, because Carla and Tiago were asleep, right? And she was telling me how she got her speech from me. But don't forget; you are the one who sits her down for maths lessons. Even I struggle to understand what you teach her! I can sort of follow along when you talk about algeebra but you lose me after that. Bia? She takes it in her stride," explained Jewel. Blu looked thoughtful. "You really think so?" he questioned, and Jewel affirmed, "I know so," before continuing, "Not only are you the best mate I could imagine, but you're the best father, too. And I just…" she began, taking a breath, closing her eyes and quickly shaking her head, before revealing her crystalline irises to the male once more and saying, "I just love you, so, so much. Just… More than mere words could ever tell, I swear to you," she finished, her heart pounding, pumping blood around her system that was laced with nothing but joy.

Blu felt a little overwhelmed, but he reciprocated, "You're the best wife I could imagine. I love you, too, my jungle girl, my precious Jewel. Unconditionally, faithfully and unendingly. You're my protector-" he began before correcting himself, "You're our protector. You're the best mother our kids could ask for. Certainly the best I could ask for," admitted Blu, finishing his sentence.

That was enough for Jewel. "Oh, come here, you," she laughed, dragging his head closer so she could kiss him again. They did so for a couple seconds. Jewel hoped Bia wasn't watching for her own sake.

Blu was happy to be kissed by his mate no matter the circumstance, but it was getting late. "As much as I love it when you are happy, because that beautiful face of yours should have a smile on it, 24/7, I am very very tired, and I wish to go to sleep," he announced.

Jewel was fine with his statement, "Of course, of course. You can sleep on my chest tonight. You keep me warm, and I can tickle your crest when you snore," she announced.

"Sounds good to me, honey," acknowledged the male, who himself was very tired due to cuddling his sleepy wife. Jewel laid on her back while Blu remained on his side so that he could easily rest his head on her chest, as was usual.

"Goodnight, my precious Jewel. Sweet dreams," wished Blu. Jewel didn't reciprocate in quite the manner he expected. "Before you do sleep," she began, before continuing once she had the male's attention, "Do you think you could talk at me? Because when you put weight on me, it prevents me from sleeping. So if I can be asleep first, then, you can sleep however you want," she explained.

Blu looked thoughtful, as his head laid against his wife's fluffy chest. Half of his brain was taken up by the sounds of her heart beating and the other half was listening to what she had to say. "Well, I could try. But I don't know exactly what to talk about. I've been a little blank lately," he admitted. "Anything will do," replied Jewel, "You could tell me things about… I don't know. Minnesota. Our children. Bad dreams," she listed before taking a pause and adding, cheekily, "or even me," she finished.

The male snuggled up against his wife and chuckled, softly. "I could talk about you for hours and hours, my love. And if I can't think of anything else, I will sing your praises until you sleep. I promise," he replied in a whisper. Jewel laughed softly, "I look so forward to that," she assured him, before allowing him to speak freely, "Whatever you want to talk about, I'll listen," she finished.

"So… What shall I talk about?" asked Blu, rhetorically, which Jewel sensed and so didn't answer, "Hmm… Well, since we are on the subject of bad dreams, I used to have lots of them," he admitted. Jewel did not respond. Instead, she laid her head back and relaxed, closing her eyes and listening in. Blu felt her muscles articulate throughout her whole body under the weight of his head.

"Yeah…" he began, reminiscing on the state of his sleep cycles, "It was a while before I met you. I actually used to get rather bad sleep paralysis. It was really hard for me to get back to sleep. And my schedule would always become rather pear shaped. It wasn't too bad, but it was still scary for me, you know?" he questioned, although he expected no answer, and so continued his talk, "But since I met you, my bad dreams have been happening much less. And I don't know why, but it might have to do with the fact that I am cuddled up against you? Like right now, how I'm all cosy and warm. I love you for who you are, but it helps that your body is like a feathery hot water bottle," he joked. Jewel asked, through the strain of fatigue, "What's a… Hot water bottle?"

Blu obliged her question, "It's like a big rubber thing that you fill with hot water, and then you can hold onto it, and the rubber helps the water to retain its heat," he explained.

Jewel used his definition to poke fun at his domestication. "Are you suggesting…" She began, taking in a long breath to have enough oxygen to finish her sentence, "I'm built like a sac of water?"

The male backpedalled by saying, "No, no. Of course not. Your body is… My sanctuary. You're always so warm, and you're incredibly soft. You have the properties of a hot water bottle, but you aren't one. You're my mate," corrected the male.

"I was only joking," replied Jewel, in barely any kind of a voice at all; it was so quiet that the only parts of the sentence that made a sound were the consonants.

Blu felt somewhat deflated, but carried on talking. "Anyways… I used to spend my time with an actual hot water bottle during the winter in Minnesota. It would get really cold; freezing cold, in fact. Linda would go sledding in the snow, and I'd stay indoors and watch her, when she did it just outside. One time she even let me have a go, but, generally, during the winter, she kept me and herself nice and warm and inside the bookstore," he explained.

Jewel didn't know what a lot of the things he said were, but she listened to him speak, anyways, her eyes firmly closed.

"Oh, yeah, it was great fun going on the sled. It was rather like my skateboard, only that had wheels, and the sled had ski-like things on it. You just sort of lean forward and let gravity do its thing. We did it on the Soo Line Trail, which, once upon a time, was the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste Marie Railroad which was a four thousand and seventy four mile rail network that ran between Chicago and Minneapolis. It was all taken up decades ago, though, but it was good for sledding down in some places, especially when there was a big snow pile at the bottom, because then when you went hurtling down it, you had a soft landing. We didn't really like to go down the steeper embankments, because those were essentially a freefall; they were sheer," said Blu, really getting into his stride.

Jewel was willing to listen to Blu, which was why she asked him to speak in the first place, but she found that listening was all she could do if it pleased her to do anything otherwise; she didn't know what several of the things her mate had described even were.

"Sweetheart, are you speaking English? I don't understand half of what you're saying," she whispered in the same manner as earlier, with the words only really being uttered by their consonants, as Jewel was too tired to use a proper voice. Her eyes did not open for the whole duration of her question.

Blu made out basically what she was saying, and said, "I won't worry about really explaining much. I'll just let you listen to me," he informed her.

Jewel was happy enough with this, and responded in the most low maintenance way possible. "Mhm," she hummed.

Blu went back into storytelling mode, "Anyways," he continued, "this one time, Linda sat me on the sled, and set it up only about three or so metres from the bottom. She wouldn't dream of letting me loose from the top. She set me up, sat me on the sled, and let me go! It was really thrilling!" he exclaimed, putting some drama into his story, although still maintaining a quiet enough tone so as to not keep Jewel awake, "The wind in my head crest and the cold against my face. It stung my eyes, honestly. And then I hit the snow drift and sort of face planted in it, but it didn't matter, because Linda plucked me out almost immediately. That was it, though, I was too cold to stay. So we packed up and went home. That was how I found out about the railroad that we were walking on; Linda's dad was talking about it, although I was the only one who was interested. I was curious about it, and so when I was back home again, I found some old railway magazines and books, and they detailed the history of the trail, alongside other kinds of locomotives, rolling stock, and railway lines. And if you care about that sort of thing, then it is rather fascinating," he detailed, before continuing to talk about a subject he was passionate about, "For example, did you know that the Soo line rostered a special rail hopper for hauling Iron Ore? And did you know that they ran ore trains through my town to the Ore Docks out in Duluth, a little under 50 miles from where I used to live?" he asked, taking his question seriously for a second in the heat of his passion, but then remembering that his mate's knowledge of railways amounted to precisely nothing, "Ah…" he realised, "Of course you don't…"

Blu paused for a moment, listening to hear if Jewel was still awake, but he couldn't confirm whether she was or not. Since Jewel had no idea about railways, he didn't expect her to answer, and so went back to the topic of sledding, "It was great, sledding. Being in the snow. It was when I was still quite young, but coming up on being fully grown as I have been, now, for a few years," said Blu, retelling the tales of his youth before unearthing a particularly interesting tidbit of information, "I remember when Linda took me to her spelling bee, and to prom! Oh, the dress she wore that day. She looked like a wedding cake," he chuckled.

Blu racked his brains to think of how these two events transpired and then how to put them into words, "The spelling bee was interesting, that's for sure. Linda got special permission to take me into her school. I got poked and prodded by her classmates, but she was very insistent that she wouldn't let anyone stroke me unless they were gentle. A lot of the kids thought I was a hawk, though, which was-" he began, before Jewel cut him off. "You are a hawk. You're my…" she started, before yawning in between halves of the sentence to have enough oxygen to finish, "my crazy love hawk!" She finished, pleased with her joke.

Blu rolled his eyes, "Yeah, yeah. I'm your crazy love hawk. Only, I'm not so much of the whole 'crazy' part, am I?" he countered. Jewel responded, "No, not really. You're my regular love hawk," she assured him, before coming up with a better title, "No! You're my modest love hawk. Because you always ask for permission and you have the manners of a saint," she finished. Blu was pleased with this title, "Your modest love hawk, am I?" He queried. Jewel nodded, "Absolutely," and then realised, "Oh no… I've woken myself up, haven't I? Duckegg!" She scolded herself. Blu simply said, "Don't worry. I have plenty of stories left to tell," he announced. He decided to briefly remove his head from her chest to give her a kiss, and so he did, before settling down in the same spot again. Jewel was surprised but did not protest. "What was that for?" she asked. Blu simply said, "With love from your modest love hawk."

She was satisfied with that answer and so let him carry on. "Anyways, where was I?" he whispered, as a way of saying his own thoughts out loud. He remembered what it was he was talking about and carried on, "Spelling bee! That was it. Yes. I was paraded around the room, poked a bit, prodded a bit, and had a lot of fascination held about me," he recalled, before adding on more to these details so that his wife wouldn't worry for him, "Don't worry. When I say 'poked and prodded' I mean… I was just stroked by children. Nobody was especially rough with me," elaborated Blu.

He continued his story, "So yes, it is quite interesting to be the big thing in the room, but the spelling bee itself was fairly interesting. Shame I didn't get to see what happened. All I know is that she did very well and we had a photo taken together. The one thing I always find amusing is that Linda's teacher, Ms. Katie said, "We're all flying high today!" in the article that contained the picture, but, that is obviously ironic because, well, at the time, I couldn't fly," he laughed softly, before finishing his story, "It was great. I had a fun day. Especially when I sat on the shoulder of Linda's history teacher. He threw a fit! He doesn't like birds. I did it because I knew what he looked like and I remembered that Linda was always complaining about her awful history teacher and how boring he made the lessons. He wasn't teaching, but if he was, I think all the students would definitely have started listening," he recalled, before adding, "Mind you, if he had been talking about pirates, he could easily have kept me on his shoulder and simply called me Polly," he chuckled.

"That sounds… Amusing…" whispered Jewel, who had settled down again. "I mean, I know you don't fully appreciate it because you don't have the full context, and you don't really understand what I'm saying. Right?" questioned Blu. "That's…" began Jewel, yawning once more, "That's right."

She felt positively cosy, and decided to feel even better. She removed her left wing from under her mate, and used it to support Blu's back and lower nape. She also made slow circles with the appendage, as she wanted him to feel like he was being stroked, if only a little.

"Awe… Honey," he sighed, "Thank you," he affirmed. Jewel didn't acknowledge her mate's pleasure, she had a demand of her own for him to heed. "Hold me tighter," she whispered in the same consonant dragging breath-like whisper as before. Blu smiled in a very full manner and obliged, squeezing his mate slightly. It was what she wanted, after all.

Jewel yawned yet again. Some part of Blu wondered how she was even awake, right now.

"Shall I continue telling you stories, my darling?" asked Blu, whose voice reflected his own fatigue. Jewel barely responded, "Hm," she breathed, which Blu deduced to mean 'Yes', and so he carried on.

"I've told you about going to school with Linda, and I've talked about snow, so what is left? Hmm…" he pondered, before coming up with a good talking point, "Oh!" he realised, "There was when I went to prom with Linda. Prom being like, a party of sorts for upper-classmen in grades 11 and 12," he explained before adding a stipulation, "Well, at least it was where Linda went to school. She obviously brought me along. Well, let me rephrase; she brought me with her to any place that she could. I'd never have left her side if she could fly and the places she went didn't mind me being around. We were really inseparable," reminisced the male, before realising he was going slightly off topic and getting back to what he was saying beforehand, "Anyways… Linda took me to prom, right? And I remember that she had eyes for this guy named Zach. Now the whole point of Prom is that you're supposed to bring a date, but they weren't so strict about it. It was more a party for getting so far in your school life. Now, Linda was never really especially popular. She's a lot like me; a bit shy. And she had eyes for Zach because he was also a bit shy, and he also didn't really have a date. And so I tried to help her get with him, right? So I'd follow him around so that Linda would have to follow me to keep me within her sight. That way she could be around him and have a good excuse! He found it cute that I followed him, and they bonded through me, somewhat," he explained, before taking a short break to assess the state of the female. She seemed to be still awake, but he didn't wish to check, so assuming she was still awake, he continued, "They got a picture together, but the photographer thought that she only wanted me in the shot, so Zach is sort of off to the side and he's doing a funny scowl for the camera, but he's only half in it. The main focus is me and Linda in her funny pink dress and ridiculous hairstyle," recounted Blu, yet again glancing at his mate, before continuing the tale, "He came over this one time, and Linda being sixteen going on seventeen, her parents didn't mind. I think poor Linda scared him off a bit, because she was showing him all of her reading materials. I sat on his lap as Linda read to him by the fireplace, and while it was a really nice scene, I don't think he was into it. They had always been friends, and I helped them get closer, but I guess there's only so much me being there can do. He didn't cut her off or anything, he just was not interested. I remember Linda's face when he said that it wasn't going to work," he recalled, picturing it in his mind's eye, before carrying on, "She was so upset. I mean, she didn't hate him, and didn't think of him as some sort of jerk, because he isn't. Linda was happy that he was honest with her, that much is for sure. But she was upset. We just sat by the fire for a while, and I sat on her lap and she gave me cuddles," he finished. Blu glanced at his mate once again, and she was very still. "Just a bit longer," he thought. "That definitely cheered her up," he continued, "In fact, stroking me always made her feel better. Really, there were a couple times when she came home terribly upset, and I remember just running to see her, and she'd just come and pick me up and that would be it. She wouldn't let me go for another two hours. And I didn't mind one bit. I love Linda, and, if I can be there for her, then, that's all I ever want. I may be a pet, but I was more than a mangy old dog that is always sick on the carpet. No, I was part of the Gunderson family. Everyone there loved me. Whenever guests were over, they would promptly be introduced to me. It doesn't matter that I am a macaw; in that bookstore, I was family. And I wouldn't trade that for anything," he explained. Jewel seemed to be sleeping soundly, but Blu just felt so inclined to talk to her some more, even if she wasn't listening. "At least… I thought I wouldn't trade it for anything, until I met you, my love. As much as I love Linda, and as much as I love Moose Lake, Minnesota, snowboarding, the bookstore, warm fireplaces and my family... I always felt like something was missing. And that something was definitely you. I know it could have lasted forever, because Linda would have eventually met a partner and perhaps even had kids of her own, and then they would have loved me, and I would have loved them. And eventually, I know I would have died of old age with a new family, and probably with Linda witnessing it. I know that sounds morbid, but, it would have been my fate if I hadn't met you," he said, quietly, but loud enough that Jewel could hear, if she were listening. He raised his head from the female's chest to face her, and soak in her features. His mate was radiantly beautiful, and holding her was a privilege other macaws would go to great lengths to have for themselves. "I love you, Jewel. And I want to grow old with you. Because I'm still with Linda, too. And when she has a family, they can love us both, and I can love you. I just feel so blessed. Because when I was younger, I knew I'd grow up with Linda. But now? I get to be with… A tropical treasure. An ethereal girl of pure poetry. The soul of the rainforest," he complimented, stopping only to take one last look at his mate, and give his final word, "My precious Jewel…" he breathed, concluding his speech for the night, until he would say the words 'Good morning, my love', tomorrow. He continued to soak in her features for a few seconds before bringing his head back down onto her soft chest. He felt it drop under the weight of his head, like a cushion would when you lay your own head on it, only it was stopped by the female's ribcage, giving Blu full audible range of her heart beat. Being a macaw, it was a very fast rate even when she was asleep, but it seemed to be higher than normal, as the male settled down to sleep. He thought nothing of it; he was tired, himself, so who is to say that he wasn't imagining it.

Blu closed his eyes and settled down to go to sleep. It wouldn't be long before he was away into dreamland, with the sound of his mate's heart resonating in his head.

The moon had travelled through the sky quite a bit, by now. The light level inside the hollow was now considerably lower, but that didn't matter. There was not a breath of wind, and as a result, there was no noise whatsoever inside Blu and Jewel's shared abode, that was, except for a sniff. The male wondered what he had heard. He opened his eyes and waited to see if the sound would come again. It did, another quiet sniff could be heard. Blu realised now that his mate's heart rate had definitely increased, and so he removed his head and looked at her; a smile had crept on her face, and she quietly sniffed again as he looked over. It had only been thirty seconds since he had finished his previous compliment.

Blu previously felt tense, he had thought she was having another nightmare, but no, she seemed to be happy about something. But surely she wasn't asleep, so Blu spoke to her again, "Jewel? Honey, are you okay?" He whispered. If she didn't respond, he would simply go back to sleep again. He waited a couple of seconds, before his mate responded, "Yes. I'm okay," she whispered, opening her eyes by a narrow margin. They slid open enough to reveal a rivulet of blue behind a glassy film of moisture which connected with him. Blu had moved his wife to the brink of tears, but not quite over. "Did you hear…" began Blu, with a whisper, but Jewel answered him before he could finish. "Mm hmm," she breathed, before elaborating, "I heard everything," she finished, sniffing again. Blu felt a tinge of guilt, "I didn't mean to make you cry, honey. Now you'll be up for ages," he apologised, though Jewel was having none of it. "No, save your apologies. Come here," she insisted. Blu wouldn't reasonably say no, and so he found himself looking head on at his gorgeous mate, who had rolled onto her side, and, once he was within range, simply kissed him. It was quick, so as to not stir up her heart rate. "Stop being so good to me, or I'll want to kiss you again," she commanded, softly, followed by the closest she could manage to a laugh with the state of her tired throat, which came out as more of a soft wheeze than anything. "I'll try not to, but, you're difficult to not treat specially," admitted Blu, before continuing "I don't think I could go long without complimenting you for something if I tried," he finished.

Jewel exhaled, which went straight into Blu's face. He didn't mind this; it made him feel safe knowing that she was there. "I want you to sleep facing towards me tonight. I want to open my eyes tomorrow and have you be the first thing I see," she conditioned, calmly, her voice like a tired angel. Her mate smiled at her, and made himself comfortable, wrapping or draping whatever wing he had over or around Jewel. He didn't care if it was his left or right, he was much too tired. All he cared about was cuddling his wife, and falling asleep in her embrace. Based on her movements, she had the same idea. Before long, they were swaddled up in a sort of Blue Macaw burrito, and in their embrace, they were asleep in no time, without the help of Blu's life stories.

The pair were laid in their nest, wrapped in each other's wings, and sleeping peacefully. Their bodies intertwined, with Jewel's being a shade of sky blue, and Blu's being a funny shade of dark blue; the colours mixed together in the low light, and became a sort of flat purple, which was in stark contrast to the woody brown of the tree in which they resided.

There were no more bad dreams that night, and maybe, in the end, it wasn't such a bad night.

The End?

And so that was that. What did you think? Did you enjoy it? I have put a lot of emphasis on the interactions. It's one of my strong suits.

I do very much enjoy writing about Jewel; she's an interesting character and has a lot to talk about in most situations, and she's reliable to put into tricky scenarios. If I made Blu fight, it'd have to be unrefined and through a wall of... Blu-ness. If I made Jewel fight, then you see what happened near the end of Desperate Measures, because it is conceivable. I really reckon that in both the films, they have treated Jewel too much like a plot object and nothing much more. Hence why I wrote a whole alternate ending story on it, the other day, and this one mostly about her, too, and why she is the main character in Imperfect. She just isn't done enough justice.

Anyways. There will be another chapter to this. Hopefully. I'll work on it. When will it be out? When its ready.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed, please consider leaving me a nice review, with any criticisms. I'm looking for a lot of that. While I am aware that the dialogue is still quite perfect, I have addressed that, somewhat by smoothing out the robotic-ness of it all. I think this text may be about as good as it gets, but we'll see about that.

Until next time. Which, in an ideal world, shouldn't be long.
~ Der Verruckte Spatenwahnsinnige