39k words in progress @Ao3/@Ffn by SatuD2
Genre/what to expect: extended hurt/comfort: an exploration of separation and eventual reconciliation of two soulmates.
Pairing: Gen | Tien & Chiaotzu
A pale telepath is given an unexpected assignment in the middle of the night: to raise a triclops baby in the way of the Crane. If only he was old enough to protect him properly. Rated for safety. Potentially slightly AU.
Suitable for fandomblind readers? Yes
Reviewed by: commanderAIK
Imagine two inseparables who met at a very young age, to the point where they are practically brothers. Picture they grow up together in a school that brutally trains its students to swear by it as assassins. There’s the brother larger in size, the one that’s more combative and therefore utilized by the school. Then there’s the smaller one, quirky but more incapable and ignored. Naturally, the taller one rises in rank, soaring past the smaller. It’s easy to assume the smaller brother is the younger, cared for by the older, and the the taller one is the older, naturally more worried about the younger.
Reverse that, and you get To Raise a Triclops.
The story, written by SatuD2, goes against the traditional background of Dragon Ball characters Tien and Chiaotzu. It introduces a new headcanon: Chiaotzu, the smaller character in the anime, being given the baby Triclops Tien by the school and told to care for him. Satu excels in leading up to and following the canon events, but does it all from Chiaotzu’s point of view, unlike Tien’s. And as the technical older brother here, he cannot stand his incapability to prevent Tien from slowly drifting away as he is brutally trained to become a skilled assassin. Satu takes those moments of dread and helplessness and amplifies them. By the end of those chapters, I feel as if I myself am Chiaotzu, or better yet, an older brother so out of control of protecting my own kin. As an older brother myself, I am touched deeply by it.
In short, it’s a beautiful examination of what tears the two inseparables apart and eventually begins to bring them back together. The character development is stellar, each chapter giving a bit more information. No information is unnecessary, and it allows for concise, juicy chapters that I look forward to every week.
I like to split it into two arcs: the hurt arc, where the separation occurs, and the one we are currently on, the comfort arc of reconciliation and restoration. The writing is crisp, descriptive when necessary, and conveying of all the essential emotions for the plot. The dialogue is also amazing and completely in-character, making the story all the more believable!
We currently just got over a very heavy scene, which has certainly hit me emotionally. I specifically remember my heart skipping a beat upon finishing this most recent chapter. It was not the only time. Throughout the work, Satu, while still staying true to the story, sprinkles in scenes that show what it feels like to have someone there for you, and they have driven me dangerously close to tears.
So even if you aren’t a fan of Dragon Ball and don’t know the first thing about Tien & Chiaotzu, I recommend you read To Raise a Triclops. There are many ways in which this story is more than just two students of a martial arts school, and anybody can enjoy it.
Example review from FFN:
Tafferling’s review for chapter 28
Great entrance, as I have gotten used to.
And while I am not connected to this fandom at all, and cannot say I know what happened, you’re not making me wish I did, because it all feels like it makes sense. No need for details, because [Chiaotzu was sure that if their minds had not previously met that the deep sadness and regret the old man felt at the death of his pupil would have been completely obscured. And completely private.] already says so much.
But but but.. wait.. rice cooker?! Oh god, what? 😀
[The air was hot and dry, a brisk wind blowing stinging sheets of sand against the three of them as they wandered through the seemingly abandoned town.] Wordporn. Argh. Your scene setting had come such a long way since you have started this. I am so proud.
*flails at you:* [All he could manage was a low hum in the back of his throat, an involuntary reaction to being asked a question.]
Oh my, what’s happening? Police! Guns! Oh Tien 😦 He’s offering the man to break an arm or a leg OR TWO?! YOU ONLY HAVE TWO! You cannot truly be held responsible for what you’ve done, brainwashed by Shen as you’d have been. Not.. fully.. anyway.. I mean.. okay, nevermind. I suppose you are right. And that you’re willing to accept whatever, that tells a lot about how far you’ve come.
What a soothing ending to this chapter, even if you’ve given us a sense of urgency and revealed how much is really at stake in their search for the balls. It was still beautiful to see that man forgive Tien and have them stay for food :).