Official Summary: AU. Tien is a rogue, a runaway who has abandoned everything he has ever known. Escaping from his cruel sensei, Master Shen, he stumbles across an abandoned infant. The baby boy is near death, thin and malnourished, and it is up to Tien to raise him as his own brother. But what dangers lurk in the shadows for both of them?
AN1. I've messed with the ages...badly… Chiaotzu's five for most of the story, Tien's 20, Goku (when he comes into it in chapter 10) is 21, Krillin (also in chap 10) is 22, while Yamcha, Lunch and Bulma are 23. Goku did marry Chi-Chi when he was 18, and they had Gohan a year later. Therefore, Gohan is 2 years old. Yay! *dance* Yamcha and Bulma broke up and Yamcha is now dating Lunch while Bulma's single. Nice that, isn't it? I am such a Yamcha-x-Lunch shipper ^.^
AN2. Okay, this is the first chapter of a fic I've been working on for nearly 18 months now. I'm stuck on one of the chapters and maybe beginning to post it is just incentive I need to actually finish it. There are a couple of other fics I was thinking about doing this with, but none with so much headway. Anyway, I hope you enjoy. Even if you don't, then...sorry. This chapter is short, but the next will be longer (plus it will introduce Chiaotzu, who is not featured in this chapter).
The young man crashed through the thick underbrush, sending flocks of birds through the air, their outraged squawks echoing around the forest. His hands and face were becoming slowly scratched and bloody as he tried to protect himself from the branches that whipped past. His breath came in frightened gasps, his eyes wide as he ducked under high branches and vaulted over low ones.
He cast a frightened glance over his shoulder, then tripped and fell heavily to the ground. His breath whooshed out of him, his eyes widening. He coughed hard, pushing himself up onto his hands and knees, pain spreading through his chest.
"No," he muttered, pulling himself to his feet and stumbling forward. "I...won't be caught now."
His stumbling gait soon evolved into a run again, his feet pounding on the pine-needled ground, his eyes darting back and forth, searching for a place to hide.
"You cannot run, Tienshinhan! We will find you!"
His pace increased at the loud shout, though it sounded faint and distant to him. The point was not that it sounded far away, but that he could hear it.
He was running away, escaping if you wanted to sound less cowardly, from his master. The same master who had beat him every day for the past 10 years, who had tormented him since he was child. The same master who had said the constant torture was simply a training exercise, a method to strengthen his mind.
Two weeks ago he had finally protested, saying the beatings were weakening his body. He had received a whipping and had been locked alone in his room (which was a small cube a few inches shorter than he was to force him to remain in a cramped position whenever he was incarcerated there) for a week with no food or water. He had been almost mad with hunger and thirst by the time Shen had let him out, and even then he had been forced to spar with Tao Pai Pai, Shen's cruel younger brother, for three hours before he was allowed any food.
Finally, only a few hours ago, he had seen his chance and grabbed it, sprinting for freedom when his master's back was turned, running towards the dense pine forest. He would not go back, would not return to that torture chamber. He couldn't survive another beating, couldn't survive another week alone in his room. If either Shen or Tao Pai Pai found him now, now that he had gotten so far away from them and their cruelty, he would fight them to the death before he would go back. His back still stung as he thought about his punishment from last time he had run away. He had only taken a few stumbling steps into the forest before Shen had grabbed his arm in a grip of iron and dragged him back into the dojo, where Tao had been waiting, whip in hand already. No boy should have been beaten so severely for such a simple crime.
But he had gotten so much further already this time. Each gasping breath of the heavily pine scented air was sweet in his lungs. He was almost free. He was almost safe from those cruel monsters who had found him at the tender age of five and had dedicated almost all their time to breaking his spirit so he could be another tool for them. Well they hadn't succeeded. Each punishment they inflicted on him only made him more determined to get free.
He stumbled into a wide clearing, coming to an abrupt halt, his eyes wide as he stared around. His eyes widened as he stared up at the sudden cliff face that had appeared before him, underbrush so dense it was almost solid stretching out on either side.
"No," he breathed. "It's...not possible."
The cliff was blocking his way. There was no way he could see to go around it, nor any way up. He was trapped.
"No!" he shouted. "I will not be beaten like this!"
He ran up the cliff-face, slamming his fists into the solid stone. His fists were scraped and bloody, his hands bruised, before he finally stopped. He panted as he stared up at the cliff, his anger and frustration sending waves of fury through him.
"I know you're here, Tienshinhan!"
Tien froze. That was Shen's voice. And it sounded close. He scanned his eyes over the cliff, searching desperately for footholds. On the very edge of his vision he caught sight of a dark crack in the rock. His heart lifting, he sprinted towards it. It was only just wide enough to fit him. He squeezed in, clenching his eyes shut as he awaited discovery.
AN. Damn, that is short. I'd forgotten how short this one was... Dating back to the days I was happy when a chapter met 1000 words (shakes head). Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed it, Chapter Two will be posted...tomorrow...maybe... Review if you want to, it makes me smile!!