Chicken Run Prologue Disclaimer: The film Chicken Run and its chickens, from Ginger to Babs, and the two rats, do not belong to me. They are the property of Dreamworks and the creators of Wallace and Gromit. However Penny Hen, chickens not from Tweedy's Farms and the Goose Flock do belong to me. You want to use them? Then e-mail me and get my permission. Sayonara, and enjoy the fic!
The Foundling
By: Lady Iapetus

It was probably the most unknown yet most famous island in England. At one time a sanctuary for birds, it had been taken over by chickens. The chickens had escaped from Tweedy's Chicken Farms, which was already deep in financial trouble. After the loss of the farm, Mrs. Tweedy suffered a nervous breakdown. She could be seen wandering around the ruins of the place, babbling about chickens, pies and a giant flying chicken coop. Eventually, she was committed to a sanitarium. Mr. Tweedy, while working on repairing the pie machine, discovered that he had an aptitude for mechanics. Soon "Tweedy's Garage" was the most popular garage in the area.

The chickens, of course, didn't care. They lived on their island the way they wanted to, with no fear of having their heads chopped off or being turned into pies. Soon word got around to other chickens on other chicken farms about the "Chicken Sanctuary," (courtesy of Nick and Fletcher, the gang's self-proclaimed public relations rats) and they began staging their own escapes and flocking to the Chicken Sanctuary.

Of course, not all the escapes went as planned...

* * *

"Come on, Bri! 'Urry it up, or we'll be spotted!"

"Okay, okay! I'm coming!" Under the cover of darkness a young hen with light brown feathers and wearing a locket hurried for the opening in the gate where a red rooster with a blue bandana around his head was waiting for her. In her arms she carried a small bundle, a baby chick that was barely five days old. They had named her Rosepenny. "Are ye sure that no one spotted us, Colin?"

The rooster nodded. "Aye, positive. By th' time th' sun comes oop, we'll be free and watchin' our little babby takin' her first steps."

"Don't get too far ahead of yuirself, now," Briar warned. "We ain't even through th' fence yet. One milestone at a time, y'ken?" Colin smiled and pecked Briar on the cheek. He then climbed through the fence hole and reached out his arms for the baby. Briar passed him the chick, then climbed through herself. Once they were through they started running down the road.

Two hours before dawn found Briar and Colin pushing a crudely made raft off of the bank. Once it was in the water they started paddling towards the island that was Chicken Sanctuary. They were only halfway there when Murphy's Law decided to rear its ugly head. A harsh wind picked up, churning the water and rocking the tiny raft.

Gritting his teeth, Colin fought for control of the little vessel. "I'm not sure I cin hold 'er!" he growled, pushing the raft away from a rock with his paddle. This action caused the oar to bend and break in his hand. Frustrated, Colin threw the pieces into the water. "Cruddy piece o' garbage!"

Briar sat on the raft, holding Rosepenny to her and clinging to the mast in fear. She turned her eyes frontward just in time to see another rock looming in front of them. She shouted the warning: "Colin!" Colin turned and saw the rock, but it was too late. Their raft crashed against it, falling to pieces and dumping all three chickens into the water.

Briar's head broke the surface. She grabbed onto a piece of wood floating by, keeping herself and the baby afloat. Breathing hard, Briar looked around for Colin but couldn't find him anywhere. Something floated over to her, and she reached out and grabbed it. It was Colin's bandana.

Tears threatened to spill out of Briar's eyes and break her resolve as she slipped the bandana over her neck. She was too tired to try swimming to Chicken Sanctuary, and now that Colin was gone she didn't have the heart to go on. Briar paddled her makeshift life preserver over to a barrel bottom that was floating nearby. She kissed her daughter on the cheek then placed her inside. Reaching up, Briar yanked her locket from around her neck and tucked it into the blanket that Rosepenny was wrapped in. She then released the barrel, watching as the current bore it to Chicken Sanctuary.

"Good-bye, me heart, me love," Briar whispered. Several minutes later her numb fingers released the piece of wood that she was clinging to, and Briar slipped beneath the water's surface to join her husband.

* * *

The sun was just peeking over the horizon when Bunty recieved a rude awakening. Grumbling, the large hen rolled over and slammed her pillow over her head. This move still didn't drown out the irritating noise. Finally Bunty had had enough. She walked out of her house, slamming the door behind her and yelled, "WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GET THAT KID TO STOP THAT INFERNAL CRYING?"

Other chickens were also having difficulty sleeping, and Bunty's demands did little to help. One by one they came out of their huts, all denying being the source of the crying. "Well, we'd better find it or else no one's going to get a decent night's sleep," Rocky suggested. More than one dirty look was shot in Bunty's direction.

The chickens searched high and low for the source of the crying. Families with baby chicks were eliminated quickly, as those chicks were all still sleeping. The search expanded into the woods surrounding the Sanctuary. Finally Ginger came upon a small gathering of rocks on the southwestern edge of the island. Caught in the rocks was the bottom half of a barrel, and inside the barrel was a sobbing baby chick.

"Rocky! Over here!" she called. Rocky and the others ran over to see Ginger cradling a five day-old baby hen in her arms. Now that she was being held the baby's cries had died down. They faded away completely at the arrival of all these new faces. "Look what I found," Ginger said softly, showing off the baby to the others.

Mac gasped. "Och, Gingah. Isn't she th' cutest wee thing ye'eve evah seen?"

"She certainly is a pretty one," Rocky grinned, tickling the baby under her chin. "I wonder how she got out here all by herself?"

"This is how," Ginger replied, setting the chick down and pulling up the barrel. "I found her inside this, wrapped in that blanket and crying her poor little eyes out."

"Any trace o' her parents?" Mac asked. Ginger shook her head.

Babs smiled at the baby, her knitting needles clacking at 60 miles per hour. "Maybe her parents are on holiday?" she suggested. Bunty sighed and swiped Babs' knitting out of her hands. "Hey!"

"Yeah, they're on holiday all right," Bunty snapped. "Permanent holiday!"

"What do you mean?" Babs asked, looking at Bunty curiously. The bigger hen sighed.

"Her parents are gone, you great buffon!" she yelled. "They're dead, probably drowned out there in the water tryin' to get here!" Babs backed away from Bunty, tears stinging her eyes. Immediately Ginger jumped in.

"Bunty, that's no way to speak to Babs," she said. "Besides, we don't know for sure if the baby's parents are dead or alive." Bunty snapped back at Ginger, causing Mac to take her side. This developed into a full-blown argument with the hens yelling at each other and Rocky trying to break it up.

The baby looked at all of them in confusion. The adults were yelling, and the tones of their voices didn't strike her the right way. And she was beginning to realize that her parents were nowhere around. Being unable to talk, the baby did the only thing she could do in a situation like this: she began crying again.

"There, see what ye've done Bunty?" Mac asked. "Ye've gone an' made the wee babby cry! Are ye happy now?"

"It wasn't my fault!" Bunty retaliated. "You bunch are yelling just as much as I am!"

Rocky put his hands up pleadingly. "Ladies, ladies please! Can't we just make peace here, huh? C'mon, Dollface. You agree with me don't ya?" He was silenced by a quick uppercut to the jaw.

"I thought I told you not to call me 'Dollface,'" Ginger said to him. The argument only escalated from there. After a few more seconds of yelling, Ginger gradually realized that the baby had stopped crying. "Hey, hey!" she shouted, holding up her hands. "Do you hear what I hear?"

Babs, who had resumed her knitting, shrugged. "I don't hear anything."

"Exactly. The baby's not crying," Ginger said.

"Maybe she went on holiday?" Babs suggested.

Bunty rolled her eyes. "Or maybe someone took her," she corrected. "I'll bet it was those two rats Nicky and Fletcher what took her. Ooh, I always knew those two were bad eggs." The group turned around only to see Fowler standing behind them. He was cradling the baby in his arms, gently rocking her.

"Fowler?" Rocky asked in disbelief, not really sure of what he was seeing.

"It's about time you young whippersnappers stopped shoutin' at each other," the old rooster hissed. "You went and scared the poor thing half t' death!" He then looked down at the hen and smiled. "There, there. Those nannies aren't going t' scare you no more." Fowler looked up again to see shock registered on the faces of everyone. "What?"

Ginger flushed, trying to say the right thing. "Well, uh, you see Fowler," she began. "You, uh, that is...we..."

"We never expected you to be the fatherly type, you old softie," Rocky said, grinning. Ginger nudged him in the side, and he looked at her curiously. "What? Now what'd I do?"

"Insensative Yank," Fowler muttered, patting the baby gently on the back and shooting a glare in Rocky's direction.

Mac smiled. "Well, Fowler. The wee babby seems t' have taken' quite a shine to ye," she remarked softly. Realizing that Mac had a point, Ginger stepped forward a bit to address the senior rooster.

"Fowler," Ginger began cautiously "since the baby does seem to like you, perhaps you'd take her in for the night?" She smiled winningly at him.

"What?" Fowler cried. "Me, take care of an infant? Why, I'm a soldier not a..a...parent! Besides, they don't give out medals for child rearin', either!"

"But look at her, Fowler," Rocky said. "Isn't she cute? How could you turn away a face like that?" Fowler looked down at the little baby chick he held in his arms. Her big blue eyes gazed up at him innocently, completely trusting. Slowly a toothless grin spread across her face, and Fowler found himself smiling back. Sighing, he lifted his gaze back to the other chickens.

"What're you all standing around gawking at?" he asked. "Go on, go home. Show's over!" To make his point, Fowler turned on his heel and marched to his house, slamming the door hard. He then pulled down all the shades inside, keeping anyone from looking in. The other chickens looked at each other before departing for their own huts and their own beds.

Inside his house, Fowler set the baby hen down on his bed. "Now then," he said, rummaging around. "Let's find something to make you a bed." After a few minutes Fowler pulled out the old footlocker that he'd kept all his RAF memorabilia in. Without a second thought he took it out and placed it on the table, then lined the inside of the footlocker with some extra blankets and straw from his own bed. After he was sure it was perfect, he put the baby in it.

"There we are," he said, smiling down at her. "A bed fit for a princess. Well, what's this?" Fowler had noticed something gold glinting at the edge of the blanket. Reaching in, he pulled out a gold locket. Inside was a small sketch of two chickens: a hen with a shawl around her and a rooster with a bandana on his head. A piece of paper opposite the picture read, "Briar and Colin Cambridge."

Smiling, Fowler placed the locket in the same box that he kept his medal in. "I'll just hold onto that." Fowler pulled the makeshift crib close to his bed. The babe was already yawning and her eyelids were drooping when he leaned over and kissed her on the top of her head. "Good night, little one," he whispered before climbing into bed himself.

* * *

"Well, they must be her parents," Ginger declared, closing the locket.

It was late in the morning, nearly afternoon in fact. Just about everyone had slept in after last night's little exploratory tour of the Sanctuary, even Fowler. Currently he, Ginger, Rocky and Mac were talking about the new addition to their family who was sleeping peacefully in a straw basket. Fowler had just shown them the locket he'd found in the hen's blanket.

Now he reached over and took the locket back from Ginger. "Okay, they're her parents. But where are they?"

"Drowned, like Bunty said," Rocky replied. Earlier in the Mac had built a skiff out of some extra wood that was lying around, and he and the scientific hen had gone out searching for any more clues to their visitor's origins. They'd found the remnants of a raft and a broken oar floating on the water, but that was about it. "Their raft probably struck a rock, and they went under. Her mother must have put her into that barrel, hoping she'd wash up here."

Mac clucked her tongue. "Th' puir souls," she said. "Such a tragedy. They were tryin' t' git here, so that they cuild have a happy life t'gether. It's a pity."

"Well, the baby's here now, which reminds me," Ginger said. "What are we going to call her? We can't keep calling her 'the baby,' especially once she starts growing up." The chickens were quiet for a moment, trying to think up a name for the baby. Finally Mac snapped her fingers.

"I got it!" Mac exclaimed. "How aboot, 'Penny?'"

Ginger and Rocky looked at each other, nodding. "Penny," the hen repeated. "I like it."

"It certainly fits," Rocky agreed, smiling down at the basket. "Fowler? What do you think?"

"Fits her to a 'T!'" he exclaimed. "Brilliant idea, Mac!"

Mac blushed, suddenly interested in her hands. "Thank ye, Fowlah," she said, flustered at the elder rooster's compliment.

"Now the only problem is who's going to raise her," Rocky pointed out. "I mean, face it she's an orphan! She needs parents."

"There ain't no problem, Yank," Fowler spoke up. "Penny an' I will be just fine together, you'll see."

Mac sighed and tried to reason with him. "Now lissen, Fowlah. Wot d' ye know aboot raisin' a babby? It's a lot o' hard wuirk, 'specially when th' babby is newly 'atched. Ye said so yeself: you're a soldiah, noot a parent."

"And, no offense intended Fowler," Rocky added "you're old enough to be her granddad, let alone her father!"

Fowler fixed them all with a stern glare. "Now you listen to me, Nanny!" he lectured. "Penny and I need each other, and that's all there is to it. As for the other stuff, well... I'll just wing it. So I'll thank you to close the matter!" Ginger, Rocky and Mac all exchanged looks. Finally Ginger sighed and looked straight Fowler.

"Congratulations, Fowler," she said. "You're Penny's new father."

Next Up- Chapter 1: Penny Grows Up