AN. Ah, and here's the last chapter. I'm a little bit sad to see the end of it, but at the same time I'm quite proud of myself... Another story I can check off my list. And times are good :D I hope you enjoy this, the final chapter of My Brother!
Tien and Goku fought for what felt like hours. That was stupid; the time limit in place was for one hour only, but even this knowledge didn't sway Tien's belief in looking back at it that it had taken many more than just one for the final outcome to be reached.
It was the sheer intensity of the fight that made it seem so. After their first few testing blows, the first few minutes of darting back and forth, trying out the other fighter's defences, exchanging amused statements and friendly smiles, both fighters slowly started to put more force behind their blows, started to up their speed, started to fight for real.
If Goku struck at Tien hard enough to bruise then the triclops would duck away long enough to increase his own strength. When they got to their max in one strain, they would increase their aptitude in another. Goku upped his strength, Tien increased his agility and twisted out of the way.
They exchanged blows at incredible speed, their eyes flitting from side to side in order to keep track of each other's movements, following if one tried to retreat, covering every inch of the square fighting ring. Most of the crowd was silent, awed into stillness by the magnificence of the fighting before them. One group of people, however, didn't stop, and two members of that group were particularly vocal.
"Don't stop, nii-chan!"
Tien and Goku heard and appreciated the calls of their friends and loved ones, but were too absorbed in the fight to respond. Each was determined to win, to emerge as the victor, and each felt that their motivation was greater.
Unfortunately, only one could win. It was not an easy victory by any means. The one who didn't win (loser was the wrong word for him) fought hard until the end, but eventually the furious forward force of the man he was fighting overcame him. One punch, one that didn't even strike dead on but glanced off his shoulder, was enough to push him off-balance and send him sprawling onto the grass surrounding the ring.
There was a pause, an almost disbelieving silence, surrounding the crowd. Then of the two boys watching, one let out a cheer of triumph and the other groaned with disappointment, slumping against the wall.
The crowd exploded with sound, approval and despair, and the commentator screamed out the name of the winner, his voice shrill with excitement, jumping from foot to foot as he tried and failed to control himself. There was no end of the celebrations, it seemed. The commentator leapt into the ring and tried to hold aloft the hand of the winner, tried to congratulate him, but he would have none of it. He shrugged the commentator off, then went to the edge of the ring, squatting down and smiling at the other man, offering one hand.
"Need a hand?"
A pause, a confused glance upwards, and then a wide smile.
Their hands linked and a tug from the man in the ring set the one on the grass back on his feet. They smiled at each other, before shaking their still-linked hands solemnly.
"You fought very well, Tien."
There was no ill-feelings on Tien's side of the handshake. Their fight had been spectacular, a wonderful test of his own abilities, and yes they had come up short compared to the older man, but that didn't make them any less amazing. He had lost, but only just.
"And Son Goku is the victor once again!" the commentator was shouting, almost dancing for joy. "For the second time in a row, Son Goku is the champion of the Tenkaichi Budokai! What a magnificent performance!!"
Tien smiled, then turned and walked to the side of the crowd, limping a little but not enough to throw off the balance of his gait. Chiaotzu was slumped against the wall, his arms crossed, his face turned to the side. Tien crouched a little, turning the boy's face around to him, smiling apologetically.
"Sorry I didn't win," he said quietly, ignoring the continuing triumphant calls of Gohan. "But he's really strong. He's been training harder than I have." Chiaotzu's lips twisted a little. "Forgive me?"
A pause, then the boy shrugged. "I guess so." He straightened, then narrowed his eyes at the triclops. "But you're lucky I didn't bet on you."
Tien laughed, then reached over the wall and lifted the boy easily into his arms, sitting him in the crook of his elbow.
"Cheeky sod," he said as Chiaotzu laughed and tried to fight him off. "I know you would've if I'd given you any money."
"Not much point anyway," Chiaotzu said, giving in and slumping into his big brother's grip, one arm looping around the back of the triclops's neck. "Your odds were 2 to 1. It would've hardly been worth the effort."
Tien smiled, then turned to the group who were watching, who were both commiserating with Tien and congratulating Goku. Krillin reached over and lightly punched Tien's arm, a sympathetic smile on his face. He had a big bruise on his cheek, spreading down his jaw with reaching fingers of darkness, due to the single punch he had taken during his fight with Goku in the semi-finals, the hit enough to force him from the ring. Yamcha hadn't entered the tournament this time, preferring to stay on the sidelines with his pregnant wife Lunch.
"Hey, too bad, huh?" Krillin said softly. "Next time."
"Yeah." Tien smiled. Krillin was sympathising, but it wasn't necessary. Tien didn't feel bad that he'd lost.
Goku jumped out of the ring, grinning as he lifted his son into his arms, swinging him around once before settling him in his arms, reaching one hand out and catching hold of Chichi's. He celebrated silently with his family for only a moment, before turning to the rest of his friends, allowing himself to be overcome with their congratulations. His eyes met Tien's and he dropped one lid in a wink, which Tien returned. Even in his defeat, it was hard to begrudge the older man. He was a very talented fighter, after all.
"So, what do you reckon, guys," Goku said, his free arm looping around his wife's waist and drawing her closer, "Dinner on me?"
"Yeah right," Krillin said, laughing. "Between you and Gohan there'll be hardly enough of that prize money to pay for the rest of us."
And so, laughing and joking, the whole group made their way through the crowd, Tien trailing along behind them. Five years was a long time, and they had spent that time getting to know each other as best they could. Tien and Chiaotzu still lived in the forest, but thanks to Bulma Briefs had a capsule house to live in, and the Son family often stopped by. Tien's viciousness had been completely forgiven, and they had all become good friends.
All the same, he had never quite been able to be as open with his home and his life as the others were. To him, there was still only one person who he trusted everything with, who he trusted with his very life. He enjoyed being around the others, and he appreciated their company and friendship, but even so, he still only really cared for one person in the entire world.
Sacrificing everything he had, everything he had been able to, to protect him, had made them even closer, had deepened their bond, had made him love the boy even more than he had before. He hadn't even thought it was possible, but now his brother was the only person in the entire world that he trusted every single part of his history with, because Chiaotzu had seen him at his worst and looked past it, into his very heart, and forgiven it.
"We're going home after dinner, right?"
"Yes, and if it's after ten you're going straight to bed."
"Aww, do I have to?"
"Yep. Ten is the limit for nights out, remember?"
The boy nestled closer, his body warm and solid against Tien's, his grip around him tightening, a soft sigh issuing from his lips.
"I love you, nii-chan..."
"I love you too, Chiaotzu-kun."
And after everything they had been through, everything they had overcome, the love and acceptance of this one small boy was all that Tien really needed. To hell with the rest, without Chiaotzu his life was empty, and he had and always would take care of the boy. No matter what.
AN. Okay, I didn't know who was going to win until I wrote it XD No, seriously, I almost flipped a coin, before I decided it was better if Goku won... Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my story. It's been a pleasure writing this story, and I'm glad I decided to post it. I may start posting up another one I've not finished yet, but I'm really working very hard on this original story of mine at the moment, and it's caught up a lot of my inspiration and spare time. (cough) Anyway, I shall bid you farewell for now :D