In the Cat’s Ear Ficbit – Doesn’t Just Happen

“Just Mao works,” the cat sniffed. “I’m more used to that than my old name, anyway.” He leaned against Yin’s head. “Scan away.”

Ishida held his hand above black ears, green shimmering again. Flinched. “That is… I don’t know what attacked you, but it needs to be stopped.”

“Seriously?” Mao didn’t move out from under the glow, evidently satisfied that yes, Ishida was acting as a doctor. For now. “Contractors and Dolls – they just happen. Nobody’s been able to find any cause.”

“This kind of specific damage does not just happen,” Ishida said tightly. “It’s the metaphysical equivalent of… the closest thing I can think of is excising the brain’s capacity for emotional bonding. Without touching the rest of the higher functions. You didn’t become sociopathic out of thin air. Something tore your soul’s heart right out of you.”

Mao swallowed.

Huang pursed his lips in a soundless whistle. “An’ that sounds familiar, huh Doc?”

Lifting his hand, Ishida inclined his head. “The damage is less extreme; their physical bodies survived. But it’s similar to the damage done by a Hollow attacking another soul.” He grimaced. “Or the hole in the heart created when a soul’s Chain of Fate corrodes, transforming an innocent ghost into yet another Hollow. But that shouldn’t happen to a living human. It shouldn’t even be possible.”

Huang nodded slowly. “So this is something up your alley.”

“No.” Ishida shook his head. “I’ve seen injuries similar to this, and I may know methods to treat some of the damage. Though the wounds are old and scarred over; any healing will be limited. But I’ve never seen or heard of anything that could inflict such specific trauma.”

Hei felt his nerves twitch. “But you know something.”

25 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ficbit – Doesn’t Just Happen

    1. Knows “this looks like something one of those menaces would come up with”, yes.

      …Though I actually think he doesn’t suspect Urahara. For all Kisuke’s crazy mad scientist tendencies, leaving people experimented on to their own murderous devices isn’t one of his flaws.

      Liked by 4 people

  1. That is… I don’t know what attacked you, but it needs to be stopped.”

    It also probably needs to be torn into teeny, weeny pieces. Then burned. Because being thorough about killing it sounds like a good idea.

    “This kind of specific damage does not just happen,” Ishida said

    I didn’t think it did.

    The whole thing sounds far too nasty to have been something that just happened .

    Something tore your soul’s heart right out of you.”

    I was right – it was very nasty.

    You think besides having spirit energy related ones, that damage is another reason Contractors are so tasty to Hollows? Because they are a DAMAGED soul with spirit powers but also cannot see Hollows or ghosts . . . it’s almost like someone designed them to be the perfect snack for Hollows.

    “I’ve seen injuries similar to this, and I may know methods to treat some of the damage.

    Better than nothing.

    Hei felt his nerves twitch. “But you know something.”

    Ryuuken knows a lot of things.

    But given that nerve twitch, I would recommend NOT pretending you have no idea what he’s talking about. I suspect Hei is not in the mood for any nonsense.

    Good thing he is talking to Ryuuken and not Kisuke. I have the feeling this would get very bloody very quickly if our favorite hat-wearing mad scientist was there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What happened to Dolls and Contractors is, unfortunately, going to turn out to be harder to figure out than Ryuuken thinks.

      Oh boy. I’m honestly still chewing on how to introduce Hei and Urahara without fatalities. Given Urahara was also trained as an assassin, canon….

      Liked by 3 people

      1. What happened to Dolls and Contractors is, unfortunately, going to turn out to be harder to figure out than Ryuuken thinks.

        Of course it will.

        Problems that nasty usually don’t have easy solutions.

        I’m honestly still chewing on how to introduce Hei and Urahara without fatalities.

        Tricky. Very tricky.

        Might need to be a really good day for Hei. Stressful day he would probably slash and zap first, ask questions never.

        Maybe some kind of a buffer? Something that discourages Hei from immediately attacking at least long enough to talk?

        Maybe someone should purposefully introduce them rather than wait for them to run into each other and things to get messy?
        “As much as I hate the thought, I have to introduce you to this guy.”
        “Why?”
        “Because if you two just randomly ran into one other, someone is going to end up dead. And knowing my luck, that someone would end up being me.

        Given Urahara was also trained as an assassin, canon….

        Yeah, he is going to set off Hei’s danger sense.

        Probably not going help Hei’s nerves that like Kenshin in the early Clean and White pieces, he might be able sense on some level that Urahara could smash him like a bug if he wanted to.

        Not insulting Hei. He’s very good. But Urahara is a Captain class Shinigami. That is WAY out of Hei’s weight class.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The only way Hei would stand a chance is a long-planned and well-set-up ambush. Even that might not work.

        Probably not.

        Urahara is very wily.

        He probably keeps an eye out for ambushes and the like. Never know when the Gotei 13, Central 46, or Aizen might decide that exile is too good for him and return to the original plan of killing him.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Occurred to me after I wrote it.

        Recently, RL has been a bit difficult to manage do to some health issues*.

        No surprise that some of that has spilled over here.

        I did enjoy and appreciate this snippet.

        *Chronic stuff, that I’ve been successfully improving my management of. But sometimes flares up and makes the increased workload challenging.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Based on my earlier reading, Mao isn’t acting like a true sociopath. They don’t have the capacity to fear punishment. That would mean fearing something, and between the underdevelopment of the fear circuit and the low baseline heart rate, they would just get a heart rate they were happier with long before you actually scared them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a long time since I watched Darker Than Black, but there was always some variation on how “rational” Contractors were. You had plenty of true sociopaths, but there were many that were somewhat closer to human baseline. Mao always struck me as one of the more human ones, despite being stuck as a cat

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I think you misunderstood my comment. I was saying that if the original writers thought sociopaths were rational, they had it wrong. Sociopaths have real problems making themselves not do things that are harmful in the long run only.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. They don’t have the capacity to fear punishment.

      Not sure if sociopaths actually lack that capacity or if they just never consider that said punishment will be applied to them.

      A lot of them have tremendous egos and believe they are the smartest person on planet Earth. They don’t have to worry about punishment because they don’t believe they are ever going to get caught.

      Might be some diminished capacity for fear of punishment considering most people consider punishment as something happens when you do something wrong (and you get caught doing said wrong thing). Sociopaths do not see their actions as wrong. And they don’t think they are going to get caught. Because everyone is too stupid to catch them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Having dealt with them, it’s more “punishment won’t happen to me because I’m too smart/powerful/etc.”

        Watching their faces when someone can tell them no and make it stick – it’s an education. A frightening one.

        So yes, sociopathic personalities can learn that if they get caught doing X, they will be punished.

        Most of them are very determined not to get caught.

        And if you’re one of the people involved in catching them, and they have any room to work unobserved? Sucks to be you.

        IMO sociopathy is not the correct description for what happens to a Contractor, but Ryuuken is a doctor, not a psychologist. Contractors are more a sudden case of Blue and Orange Morality. They evidently can learn “wait, that’s Bad”, as Mao pretty much has, but it takes time.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Most of them are very determined not to get caught.

        Well, they usually aren’t stupid. Scary. Arrogant. But not stupid.

        Might be easier if they were stupid.

        Contractors are more a sudden case of Blue and Orange Morality.

        And the learning curve for picking up the “wait that’s bad” is steep and rather bloody for the bystanders.

        You can tell whoever did this doesn’t care how many people get hurt.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I hate to say it, but the outright psychopaths who have participated in certain neuroimmaging studies had underdeveloped fear circuits and when you show them pictures of people with different facial expressions, the lower functioning ones fail to identify fear. It is simply the face people make before they stab them.

        Between that and their overactive reward circuits, they, when given the Iowa Gambling Task, will keep playing with the bad decks until they run out of game money.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Not disagreeing with your statement but one should note that most psychologists don’t consider psychopathy to be an actual diagnosis. It’s kinda of an umbrella term for a variety of mental disorders . . .

        Also anyone studying the human brain and the human mind are forever finding another piece of the puzzle.

        And it’s not just our brains that can affect how we experience and/or express emotions. Various hormones can fiddle with those things quite a bit.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This is great! I’m always amazed at how you manage to take two different worlds I’d never think of combining and meld them and their characters together so well.

    I can’t fathom what could act as a ‘buffer’ between Kisuke and Hei though. An act of God maybe?

    Like

    1. Well if a buffer solution counts, dissolving in a crowd, Real Batman is chairing this year’s international convention of ninja and assassins over in Osaka.

      More seriously, cinematic crime is somewhat in genre for Darker than Black, the criminal underworld has got to be pretty agitated by recent events, and Karakura is known to be free of Contractors. Picture the chaos. Bad news out of towner gangsters looking to make a name for themselves, rob a bank, or whatever. Hard bitten national cops chasing them, who think that a bunch of hicks from Karakura are too soft and unprofessional to be trusted. Local cops, who just want the outsiders to leave before they draw something and get eaten. Two assassins, both trying to do the ‘stopped them? I was just walking my cat, and I have no idea what happened.’ routine without drawing down trouble. Though, given that Yakuza were hiding in Karakura in the beginning, Karakura may already have the cops for them.

      My desire for excessive complexity suggests Tatsuki could have clobbered some of the goons, and been swept up by the cops along with Hei and Kisuke as witnesses. So Hei and Kisuke doing innocent, and Tatsuki grilling Kisuke on the side, cause of stuff she’s seen that doesn’t add up.

      Beyond that, could the nameless thug in story one have Hollowed, and be possessing someone by now?

      Liked by 3 people

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