Part 8j

Tom, Pierre, and Cid had just stood there as their boss got his head vaporized. They just stood there during Tien and Orin's emotional exchange. And they just stood there as Orin died and Tien mourned. But when Tien yelled that last 'no', they ran. They ran towards the van, praying that Gus would have it running when they got there and that Tien would be too grief stricken to come after them. They were wrong on both counts.

Tien noticed when they left, and he had another promise to keep. They weren't going anywhere. He picked Orin's body up and flew to the top of the hill next to the road. He got there before the others had left the woods. He dug a grave there and placed Orin's body into it, along with his few belongings. He placed the dragon carving over Orin's chest and put his arms around it. By the time he had finished burying Orin, the others were just making it up the hill, not noticing who was already at the top waiting for them. They never saw what hit them.

Tien stood at the top of the hill looking down upon his prey. He raised his arm, aimed right at them, gathered his ki, then fired at the unsuspecting slime. He burnt a hole in the country side. There were no human remains found. Some speculated that a meteor hit, but there was none to be found.

Tien traveled aimlessly after that, having no real goal as to where to go. He had traveled so much in his life, and here he was doing it again. But this time, it was different. This time, he was alone. All alone. Many times he thought about ending it all by killing himself. But each time he came close enough to go through with it, something would stop him. Sometimes it was another person, but mostly it was this little voice that would talk him out of it. That voice was Orin. Tien didn't know this, however, he thought it was his conscience or his sense of duty. He couldn't know while he was alive, either. It was the only way Orin could talk to him from the other side without a third person. Orin could also visit him in his dreams, which Tien might or might not remember, but they were always happy in his dreams. But Orin could not interrupt a dream, it was against the rules. And he couldn't visit every night, for it takes a lot out of him. But it was those dreams and encouraging whispers that helped Tien through the year of arduous travel till he reached West Capitol City once again.

West Capitol City

Downtown . . .

Tien wearily walked down the busy sidewalk during midday traffic, not paying attention to where he was or where he was going, and thus bumped into many people. A lot of 'Hey!'s were followed by lot of 'Gomen's. It was in this manner that he had bumped into an old friend, literally.

Tien had just rounded a corner when he bumped into Yamcha, who hadn't been watching where he was going, but rather an attractive pair of legs attached to a well sculpted ass.


"Gomen." Tien said and kept walking, not noticing who he had run into.

"That's alright, it wasn't . . . Tien? Hey, Tien! Wait up!" Yamcha ran after him. He caught his arm, forcing him to turn around.

"Tien! Don't you remember your old friend?" Yamcha asked jokingly. Tien just blinked at him.

"You really don't remember? It's me! Yamcha! Man, you look awful! Where've you been? I thought you and Chaotzu were staying with Korin. You hungry? You look hungry. Let's get something to eat, okay? My treat! Come on, there's a diner just around the corner!" Yamcha guided Tien to the diner he spoke of, a quaint little place with a country western theme, country music playing in the background. Yamcha ordered them the country special, even though he didn't have a clue as to what that was. The waitress suggested it. Yamcha talked ninety miles an hour about everything and nothing as they waited for their food.

"Here you go, boys. Two country specials." their waitress said, placing their food in front of them.

"What is this? Exactly?" Yamcha asked.

"Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob." she said, pointing to each item in turn.

"What's this all over the steak and potatoes?" he asked.

"Country gravy. It's pretty good. I've tried it myself." she said.

"Thank you! I'm sure if you like it, it's got to be good!" Yamcha said, giving her a wink. She winked back and walked away. Yamcha took a timid bite of the steak, then began devouring his meal, finding it delicious. Tien just stared at his plate.

"Go on, eat! It's great!" Yamcha urged him. Tien began eating his food, but with a lack of enthusiasm. Yamcha continued talking around bites of food, telling Tien about recent events that had happened.

"So, what have you been up to? Where's Chaotzu?" Yamcha asked when he finished. Both had finished eating and the waitress was clearing their dishes.

"Would you boys like anything else? Dessert, perhaps? We make a fabulous apple pie a la mode." she suggested.

"Two of those would be fine, thank you." Yamcha said giving her one of his best smiles. After she sauntered away, Yamcha turned back to his friend.

"Well? Tien, did you hear me? Are you okay?" he asked, concerned.

"Chaotzu . . . and I left Korin's about two years ago . . ." Tien started.

"Two years?!? Man, you'd think we would have noticed! Why wouldn't Korin tell us?" Yamcha interrupted. "So where'd you go?"

"We went to Tibet and stayed at a temple in the mountains. It was nice there. Chaotzu is still there. I had to leave because of something I'd rather not mention in public. But a friend came with me. His name was Orin. He died about a year ago. I've been traveling alone since then, wandering aimlessly." Tien said. Yamcha just stared at him. Just then, the waitress brought their pie.

"Thank you." Yamcha said distractedly. The waitress left, wondering what had happened. Tien ate his pie quietly, his mind lost in misery. Yamcha reached out and took Tien's free hand, rubbing his thumb over his fingers.

"Tien, I'm so sorry!" Yamcha said softly. Tien look up and met his friend's concerned gaze. They stayed like that for a while, the ice cream melting on their pie.

"Have you got a place to stay?" Yamcha asked quietly.

"No, I just got into town." Tien looked down at his plate.

"You can stay with me as long as you need to. Come on, let's go." Yamcha placed a large tip on the table as they got up. He paid the bill as they left and they walked a few blocks to Yamcha's apartment. It was a one bedroom apartment, but it was hardly small. The main room was divided into a living room, kitchen, and dining room, all of which were open, creating a spacious environment. The living room was set deeper in the floor, a couple of deep steps leading in to it from the two sides facing out. A matching set of two chairs and a couch lined the wall with a tv and sound system on the steps directly opposite. The dining area was behind that, and the kitchen was to the left of it. To the right was a small balcony. The coat closet was to the left of the door as you came in, and just past that was the door to the bedroom.

"Well, here it is. Right beside you is the closet, and over there is the living room, the balcony, the dining room, and the kitchen." Yamcha said, pointing to each area. "And over here is the bedroom." Yamcha walked over and opened the bedroom door, leading Tien inside. The first thing that catches your eye, is the king sized bed in the middle of the room. A dresser stood beside a door on the right, and there was a wardrobe to the left of the entrance. Two night stands with matching laps stood on opposite sides of the bed.

"And over here is the bathroom." Yamcha said, indicating the other door. "I have practice this afternoon and I need to get going. Will you be alright here by yourself?" Yamcha asked, still concerned.

"I'll be fine." Tien said, though not very convincingly.

"Alright. The number to my cell phone is on the fridge if you need anything. I should be back at about five, okay?" Tien nodded. "Alright, then. Just make yourself at home and I'll see you later." Yamcha said, putting on his jacket, then left. Left all alone, again, Tien walked back into the main room and put his stuff in the closet. After taking of his jacket, he realized that he reeked, and decided to take a bath. When he finished, he put on a white, terry cloth robe, which he assumed was Yamcha's. It was a bit small on him, it only fell down to right above his knees, and it was tight around the shoulders. He sat down on the bed, not sure what to do next. His mind wandered as he sat there, and his thoughts turned, as they always do, to Orin. The more he thought of him, the sadder he got. He laid down, clutching a pillow to his chest, and cried into it. It wasn't long till he had cried himself to a dream-filled sleep.

A/N: Cheery, ain't I? ^^;; But now I can get back to the present and the other boys! And gals, yeah, them too. ^^;;

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