AN. My first entry into the DA club: DBZ-Friendshippy's January contest, the theme of which is snow. This is a Tien-x-Chiaotzu friendshippy pairing (because I'm good at it). Chiaotzu doesn't age, at least in my eyes, so he's consistently five in most of my stories. As it is now, Tien is six. They're in the Crane School, still under the teaching of Shen, even though he doesn't even get mentioned I don't think... Anyway, enjoy!
"Tien! Tien-kun, wake up!"
The small, bald, three-eyed boy let out a low, furious sound, rolling into a tighter ball beneath the thick blanket. This was New Year, one of the only days in the whole year he was allowed to sleep in. He wasn't going to be woken by this insistent voice. A hand first touched his shoulder, then pulled on the sleeve of his pyjamas.
"C'mon, Tien-kun. Look, it's raining!"
Tien shook his head, shrinking into himself, one hand emerging from the blanket to flap dismissively at the other boy in the room.
"I's no'…" he mumbled, sleep slurring his speech. "Rain makes noise, Chiaotzu…it makes…noise…"
This was true. Rain, even the light sprinkling they occasionally expected during early summer, made a huge sound on the top of the building in which they slept. During the heavy monsoons of spring they were unable to sleep at all because of the noise.
"But it's raining! Honest. Tien-kun, get up!"
One of Tien's eyes opened to a sliver, the pupil sliding over to fix on the anxious face of the boy standing beside the bed. The fear in those wide, oval eyes was enough to wake him up, but the movement as he sat up and rubbed at his eyes was grudging.
"What is it, Chiaotzu-kun?"
"The sky is white, Tien-kun," Chiaotzu said in a soft, frightened whisper. "I've never seen anything like it."
Tien sighed, then pushed back the thick blanket and slid from the bed. The first thing he noticed was that it was a lot colder than usual, the stone beneath his bare feet absolutely freezing, and because of this a needle of annoyance at Chiaotzu sank into his consciousness. The second thing he noticed was that the light coming through the small window was somehow dim, as though the light was being blocked in a very half-assed way.
He walked towards the window, the soles of his feet almost numb on the freezing stone slabs, his eyes wide and confused. Chiaotzu crept behind him, one hand curled into the back of his pyjama shirt, the other held to his mouth.
"What is it, Tien-kun?" Chiaotzu whispered. "Why's the rain white?"
"It's not rain," Tien said, trying to sound soothing and failing. "It's snow."
"Yes, snow." Tien strained his mind back about three years, before he had met Chiaotzu, to when he had been only three years old and similarly entranced by his first snow-fall. Chiaotzu wasn't three, he was maybe five at a stretch, but he was still young and snow for the first time was a little bit overwhelming. "Like, frozen rain."
"Frozen?" Chiaotzu clung a little tighter to the back of Tien's shirt, and Tien sighed as he felt the fear in that grip. "Wazzat?"
"Really cold." Tien groaned softly, closing his eyes and covering his face with his hands. "I'm going to have to show you, aren't I? Come on then." He reached behind him, skilfully unhooked Chiaotzu's tight grip, and twined his fingers around Chiaotzu's.
"Where're we going, Tien-kun?" Chiaotzu asked, his voice soft, frightened.
"Outside. You won't believe me 'less you see it." Tien pulled Chiaotzu through their bedroom door and into the empty corridor. He made it to the door that led to the central courtyard, then turned around and pulled his hand free of Chiaotzu's, resting both of them on those narrow, white shoulders."It's cold out there," he said, warningly. "If we had coats I would've told you to put one on, but we don't. So if you start getting really cold you tell me and we'll come back inside. Got it?"
"Mm-hmm." Chiaotzu's eyes were fixed on the door; he didn't seem to be listening at all.
Tien sighed, rolled his eyes, then grabbed Chiaotzu's hand again, opened the door, and stepped out into a winter wonderland. The ground, usually green around the white-stone-slabs of the courtyard, was covered with a white carpet, the air thick with swirling snowflakes, huge drifts of powdery snow heaped against the sides of the Crane school.
Chiaotzu stepped out, his bare feet sinking into the thick carpet of snow, his eyes wide, his mouth slightly open. His hands flitted up from his sides, spreading out, palms-up, to catch some miniscule flakes. He tilted his head back, and was awarded with a small flurry of snow sweeping over his slight frame.
Instantly he shivered violently. Tien rushed forward, worry filling him, but when he reached the other boy he just turned and grinned.
"It's beautiful, Tien-kun," he whispered, his eyes filled with awe and sparkling slightly despite the limited light. "Is it really only frozen water?"
Tien didn't know what to say. He could only nod, dumbly, his eyes fixed on the joy on his best friend's face. It was something he had never seen before. Chiaotzu turned away from Tien, stepping further into the swirling whirlwind that was the snowfall. It must have been snowing for hours to get as thick as it had been but, unlike the rain, it made no noise as it cascaded down onto the world. The first winter cold enough to produce snow in this place, and it had provided enough to make up for the past decade in one night.
Chiaotzu became first a shadow, then a vague impression, before finally disappearing completely. His white skin blended perfectly with the snow, and with his back turned his red cheeks were hidden from view. Tien watched, then a bolt of panic shot through him and he ran forward, his three eyes darting in different directions, searching desperately for his friend.
Silence greeted his words. They seemed muffled the moment they left his mouth anyway just because of the sheer amount of snow filling the air. He wasn't even sure Chiaotzu had heard him at all until a few minutes later when the two red circles of his cheek floated into view.
"I'm here, Tien-kun."
His voice was smooth, tranquil, calm, but when Tien got closer he was horrified by the violent shivers that assailed his young friend.
"C'mon, Chiaotzu-kun, time to go back inside."
"I want to stay," Chiaotzu said, but he didn't resist as Tien gripped his arm and started steering him back towards the door. "I want to stay in the snow."
"Kami, Chiaotzu-kun, you're freezing," Tien said, frowning. The skin beneath his hand was ice-cold, the muscles beneath it jumping violently as tremors twisted through that white flesh like wires. "Quick, it's time to get warm."
He managed to shepherd Chiaotzu back to their room, then pulled both his and Chiaotzu's blankets off the beds, draping them tight around his best friend's shoulders. Chiaotzu continued to smile widely, his eyes fixed on the window, his trembling body secondary to his mind's powerful wish to be outside with the beautiful, swirling snowflakes.
As Tien warmed him, cursing himself internally for allowing Chiaotzu outside in the first place, he put out one shaking hand and caught Tien's arm.
"I wish it snowed every day," he said in a soft, wistful whisper. Tien nodded and agreed, continuing to coax warmth back into Chiaotzu's body as best he could, absorbing the statement on a deep, subconscious level that he wasn't even aware of.
It snowed solidly for two weeks, then the snow melted and refroze into dense icy patches that made training and even walking outside very difficult. Then the ice melted away and it started to rain again. Chiaotzu was disappointed, devastated even, and after many years had passed and many changes had befallen them (well, Tien, at least) and their alliance had switched from Crane to Turtle, Tien would remember Chiaotzu's short, whispered statement and suggest training in a place where the snow never stopped, not for spring nor summer. Though he would sometimes regret moving to such a cold place with one who was so susceptible to colds, it was all worthwhile waking up and seeing Chiaotzu looking out the window at the shifting, swirling snowflakes blasted around in the ever-raging blizzards, a slight smile on his small face and his sparkling eyes filled with ecstatic awe.
AN. And there we have it. Shortish, but on the whole pretty cute... Plus it fits with the theme so, yeah... Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it XD