In the Cat’s Ear Ficbit – Of Course Not

Ishida was stiff, outrage frosting deliberate words. “The police would wipe memories of what you are.”

“Been doing it ever since the Gates opened,” Huang informed him. “S’why I’m not a cop anymore. Lose a piece of me, or work with the monsters? Not much choice.” He blew out a breath, as if it were laced with cigarette smoke. “Contractors… they’ve been happening since the Gates. No one knows how. No one knows why. Some poor bastard will wake up one morning – or evening, or in the middle of a train station and isn’t that a damn bloodbath – and they’ve got a power. A Contract. And part of what makes ‘em a person is just… gone.”

“By part, he means that annoying thing you humans refer to as a conscience,” Mao observed, leaning closer to Yin’s neck to steady himself. “Bear in mind, we’re not all out to rack up massive body counts. It’s just, that first month or so after your star appears, you don’t see any reason not to.”

One of Ishida’s brows twitched, as if that symptom rang a bell. “And after that month?”

“Er. Well. It depends,” Mao said thoughtfully. “Most of the Contractors I’ve dealt with were, ah, located by various groups within a few weeks. Which is long enough that you’ve figured out that you can’t figure out humans anymore. But you still need to eat. At which point your options go to petty crime or signing up with whoever says they’ll train you how to use your power and give you work. Most Contractors take a job offer. Especially when it’s backed up by food and assassins. It’s the only rational thing to do.”

From the pinched look on Ishida’s face, he was working hard to restrain a very irrational reply. “So you learn not to kill your employers?” He gestured toward Huang. “If they want your associate dead, wouldn’t it be rational to use him as a bargaining chip for your own life?”

“Of course not!” Mao’s fur puffed at the very thought. “Hei would kill me.”

22 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ficbit – Of Course Not

  1. Ah yes, which assassins do you fear, the one far away that might get you or the one right next to you who will get you. So very difficult to decide.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Hei is also right there in Karakura. Where Mao is. Whereas the Contractors the Syndicate will send are somewhere else. Mao would have space and time to get away from THEM. He does not have nearly enough space and time to get away from Hei. Who is, after all, right there. And since people starting on the other side of the world from where Hei was have had a difficult time escaping him . . .

        Mao can easily argue that it is very rational not use Huang as bargaining chip if Mao’s goal is to stay alive. The fact that he actually likes Huang is neither here nor there. Nope. Not a factor. That’s his story and he is sticking to it.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. As one of tsuki-llama’s fic put it, the Black Reaper is who the Syndicate sends when someone betrays them.

        …I doubt they appreciate the irony ATM.

        (And that is definitely Mao’s story. He’s rational! Have feelings for a cranky human? No way.)

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Ishida was stiff, outrage frosting deliberate words. “The police would wipe memories of what you are.”

    On the one hand, telling the public the truth might cause a panic. Okay, it would definetly cause a panic. Mysterious things appear and random people get weird powers which need an equally weird repayment after usage alone might have been enough to cause panic. The fact that said process also makes said people the kind who have to be taught how NOT to kill people? Eek.

    On the other hand, can’t help but think some of the causalities amongst civilians and police is because they don’t know about the Contractors. They don’t know to get out of their way. Can’t be smart about a danger than you don’t know exists.

    One of Ishida’s brows twitched, as if that symptom rang a bell.

    It just might.

    “Of course not!” Mao’s fur puffed at the very thought. “Hei would kill me.”

    He would.

    He wouldn’t like it. It would hurt. But he would do it.

    Besides the Syndicate might have killed Mao anyway even if he did try to use Huang as bargaining chip. Messy loose ends and all that jazz.

    Or they would expect Mao to lure Hei into a trap for them because killing Huang (and the rest of them) would be nice, as aforementioned by the author in previous bit, the Syndicate HAS to kill Hei if they want their little plan to blow up the Gate in ten years to actually work.

    I know that trying to pull that kind of double cross on the Black Reaper is not something I would do voluntarily. EVER. I like breathing.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It does match up with some of the early transformation Hollow stuff, but not perfectly.

        Hollows do have the psychological transformation, and do have the element of late state more functional advanced hollows regaining some measure of humanity.

        The hyper rationality doesn’t fit, but might be explained by the fact that Hollows have no bodies, are pure spirit, and hence fully impacted by a spiritual transformation; Humans have brains, and the same transformation might leave reasoning intact. Contractors and Dolls have brains, and probably neuroplasticity. Some of what we see might be explained by a Hollow based spiritual transformation that strips away identity.

        Other thing that doesn’t fit is the Acidwire/Sora Inoue situation. I don’t recall any obvious cognates in canon Contractors. If one assumes that Bai is closer to an Arrancar learning humanity anew, instead of Acidwire’s reversion. Though, the Sora situation does seem to be quite rare, and Hollows are probably much more common than Contractors, and much better documented.

        OOC, that Ryuuken pegs them as Hollow flavored, and that Kisuke knows the gate is probably confirms. We can also estimate how likely it is that Vathara is using Fullbring in this.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. It’s not a perfect match, no, but it’s very close. Add in the fact that Contractors and Dolls do have what’s stored in their biological brains to fall back on, and I think it works. 🙂

        Another DtB canon detail? Sometimes you can’t see the synchrotron radiation when they’re in a brightly lit area… but you can always see the red glow in their eyes when they use their power.

        A red glow that looks remarkably like the eyes of a Hollow through mask… or a Vizard lifting their mask without dismissing it.

        Sora was definitely a rare case, and I do picture Contractors as closer to Arrancars relearning how to be somewhat human. I haven’t read the Fullbring stuff, but given what I’ve looked up says “offspring of mothers attacked by Hollows”, that doesn’t really apply anyway.

        If you want real Nightmare Fuel… consider that Hei was able to convince the Syndicate he was a Contractor.

        (That poor guy has a lot of emotional damage.)

        Liked by 3 people

      3. If you want real Nightmare Fuel… consider that Hei was able to convince the Syndicate he was a Contractor.

        Quite . . . . now if we can just find a therapist who can know all of the crazy stuff . . . . that Hei will actually talk to . . . . and doesn’t run screaming into the night when they realize who or what their patient is . . .

        He might not be an actual Contractor but . . . superpowered, very deadly assassin is plenty scary.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. DtB canon says that Section Four started getting the truth out as soon as they could after the Tokyo Explosion, because Misaki was thinking exactly that: people were dying because they didn’t know how to handle Contractors. But right now story-wise it’s only been a week, and my bunnies say she’s still arguing with various government people about what gets declassified.

      Symptom rang a pure carillon. Especially given the energy Ryuuken found all over Huang while he was doing surgery.

      (BTW, the constant exposure to said energy actually saved Huang’s life in this AU. His soul was just a little too tough to die easily.)

      *Nod* Mao’s also calculated what the Syndicate’s likely plans would be if he did turn in Huang, and doesn’t see any way that could possibly end well. Better to throw the dice and see how long they can cheat the bastards.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. . . .my bunnies say she’s still arguing with various government people about what gets declassified.

        Yeah, that can take a while. A long while. Because governments can be hard to convince to switch tracks on they have decided on a course of action. even if that course of action is no longer feasible.

        Of course, keeping Contractors secret forever probably wasn’t sustainable. Eventually someone was going to do something too noisy to keep quiet. Or several someones. Witnesses were eventually going to be missed. And it wasn’t as if the Contractors becoming Contractors was quiet.

        It might have been officially a secret. But I bet there were rumors.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. (BTW, the constant exposure to said energy actually saved Huang’s life in this AU. His soul was just a little too tough to die easily.)

        Good for him . . . through it might get even tougher in Karakura. Especially if they set up shop anywhere near Ichigo. Who, as was previously established, sheds energy like a cat sheds fur.

        Just saying, eventually Mao probably won’t be the only one who can see ghosts. And Hollows.

        Liked by 2 people

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